What do we leave behind in death?


Kurt Vonnegut is in heaven now

Kurt Vonnegut is in heaven now (Photo credit: PhineasX)

Today I asked myself this question, or more like, the company I was in put out this question and then I asked it from myself in secret. I wondered what do we really leave behind? When I try to remember people very dear to me that have died I feel somehow at a loss. What did they leave behind other than their earthly possessions, a handful of memories, and a longing? Once all the people who used to know that person are gone then there’s nothing left.



There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects.

-Kurt Vonnegut

I like this sentence, I think the way a Tralfamadorian novel is presented in Slaughterhouse-Five does sum up a human beings life pretty well. There was no real beginning to my life, ever since I remember I have been very much alive and happy, but never quite as happy as I supposedly was in my mother’s womb. Of course I have a beginning for the people in my family who had been around to remember a time when I didn’t quite exist yet. Once those people are gone I will have no beginning in anyone’s memory.

There’s no middle, we can’t determine the middle. What is the middle? This is not the middle of my life, get out of here.

There is no end either as we can’t really experience it until it comes and when we finally experience it there isn’t much we can experience. I hope all those who have experienced it are up in heaven and when I experience it they can all tell me how wrong I was all my life, and we would all laugh how we all were wrong about everything. The absurdity.

There is no suspense in a life, it’s not like we don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s too late. Only those afraid of everyday accidents have suspense in their lives. It’s not something we wish to have, please don’t confuse it with excitement.

What is the moral of our lives? Are others supposed to learn from us? There is no inherent moral in our existence and at every funeral I’ve been in during my life the last word that was uttered was a sigh-like oh well. Priests like to say oh well. Slaughterhouse-Five liked to say so it goes.

I would like to point out that Kurt Vonnegut’s so it goes really pinned the term we should all use when it comes to death. There is no cause and effect relationship when it comes to dealing with death now is there. Once your dead, you are dead, so it goes. When you are saying your last good-by to a corpse before it’s placed in the ground, so it goes.

And so it goes, oh well said the priest. Life went on.

I find human life valuable, something to be cherished. There is no meaning in life and we are living our lives in this changing world, reading texts from little computers like iPads and e-books. The world is changing and we are changing as a species, but there is something that we should not forget.

Today I heard an older man utter that love does not exist anymore these days, too much materialism and people don’t share a shelter. It does ring true at times, human beings are isolating themselves more and more behind their careers and individual independence ever since the industrial revolution. It’s just really peaked now as we have gained even more comfortable lives to have, alone, within four walls.

Love does exist, I believe. It does exist somewhere and we should not forget it. Though love might be too wrong of a word, maybe we could think of it as solidarity, or trust.

Trust is good.

Maybe as a species we should hope to leave behind all three. A trinity of love, solidarity, and trust. From one soddy homo sapien to the next and so forth.

So it goes.




One thought on “What do we leave behind in death?

  1. What do we leave behind in death? – Some of us leaves nothing, and some of us leaves memes and genes. But I guess not everyone is satisfied by a materialist point of view.. in that case I would propose “compassion” as a truly human value that supersedes all other and thus is worth the deepen and cherish.

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