I’ve been reading Laurie Kilmartin’s tweets about her father’s death. (If you’re interested, here’s the link. You have to go back to about February 20th.) As a cave-dweller, I don’t follow anyone on Twitter. But my comic friend – who is also Kilmartin’s friend – told me about it and I finally got around to checking it out. I’ve heard Kilmartin has gained about 50,000 followers over the course of sharing this process, so I guess a lot of folks checked it out.
I’ve seen Laurie Kilmartin perform stand-up a few times, but I don’t know her. She writes for Conan O’Brien and she’s funny. That’s the most I could tell you. When my comic friend told me about Kilmartin’s recent tweets, I was mildly interested. When I read a big story about her and how some folks were not amused by her live-tweeting her father’s final days, I knew it was time to check out her feed.
Why don’t we talk about death? It affects each and every one of us, like it or not. It’s a natural part of the world and it’s occurring every second of every day. So why don’t we talk about it? What are we afraid of – that if we speak aloud of death, some scythe-wielding, hooded creature will appear behind us, ready to provide a one-way ticket to the other side?
I don’t know when we’re gonna go, friends, but I do know we’re all gonna go. We can’t jinx ourselves by merely discussing death. That only happens if we cross against the lights or mix water and electricity (or commit some other idiotic move). Our job is to do the best we can, be as safe as we can, and live while we can. That’s it.
Talking about the end of life is perfectly fine. And I’m pretty sure it helps. It can’t prevent the pain of loss, nor can it bypass the grieving process. But talking sure can alleviate the mystery darkness brought on by death. If only a little. I know that when I’ve lost someone, sharing the hurt has been an important part of getting through it. I’ve still had to get through it, mind you, and some losses just don’t happen then disappear, either. Some are felt for always. But it still helps to talk. I firmly believe this.
So I read through all the Laurie Kilmartin tweets. She’s funny, to be sure. But she’s also deeply possessed of heart and soul. The tweets made me chuckle, and they made me close my eyes, too. Kilmartin – like the rest of us – is doing the best she can in the face of a hard situation. Sharing her loss has clearly been part of her coping mechanism.
I appreciate her honesty. I appreciate her humor. And though I never knew him, I now appreciate her dad as well. Anyone with 5 dogs named “Pepsi” is alright with me.