“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.”
Hi there on this warmer than warm spring day,
It has been some time since I’ve felt the motivation to write an entry, and after finishing S-Town over a weeks’ time, the only way I can slowly sift through my reactions and thoughts about this podcast which seems to be spreading like wildfire is to write about it.
For anyone familiar with Serial, I’m sure you have heard of S-town, or Shit Town
which is a joint creation of NPR’s Brian Reed who is a producer on This American Life, and the team who started the Serial sagas which are vastly different from this seven-part real story which dropped on one day rather than bits and pieces over time.
My goal is to be as vague as possible as to not spoil the podcast for anyone who wants to listen, so if the illusive details seem disjointed, therefore.
This dynamic podcast is none like any other I have listened too. Serial sure outdid themselves, and while I have mixed feelings on whether this story should have been even told, I am not going to get into that in this entry. You can read blogs:
S-Town is a stunning podcast. It probably shouldn’t have been made or this articulate entry which addresses concerns I did not initially consider:
This account of a real life is unforgettable, profound and heartbreakingly tragic. An intellectually bright human light full of pain, passion and concern for the world extinguished way to soon. No matter the cause of the main theme of these episodes, the exploration of death shook me to the core and forced me to escape my head and seriously ponder the big questions of life. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? What scares me about death? How do I want to live out the remainder of my days, because every passing day brings me closer to my earthly ending.
Unique, brilliant, lonely people live and die in obscurity every day, however, it is rare we get to hear their story. We do not know what motivated them every day to get up and live their life, we do not have the opportunity to meet the various types of people who shaped their viewpoints of the world, and we never know what led to their demise.
I have often heard people say things like, “I had to binge-listen to this podcast it was that good.” For me, the central theme of death hit way to close to home, so I am thankful work forced me to get out of my head and provided some emotional distance from the torture which surfaced by the deep issues explored. I don’t even know where to begin to unpack S-Town, but I am hoping once I get out of my brain, I can begin to bounce back into some type of emotional stability.
These are just some of my thoughts, because I can’t keep mulling it over and confronting the dark places I have gone are too painful to revisit.
How is it possible to mourn someone you never met? Why can our world not empathize with one another and reach out to help and hold the hand of someone who is in mental anguish? I grieve for all the lives cut short before their time. I cry for anyone who believes they do not matter, because sadly after the fact the living reminisce on the memories left by the dead when it’s too late, so may we never forget time and life are truly valuable.
What pained me was to realize if it weren’t for the podcast, an online obituary would not have received the outpouring of love and sorrow that it continues to be inundated with, but those words are for our own human hearts and solace. The funeral that may or may not honor the deceased wishes are just actions, ceremonies and an attempt to provide people with closure after the person is no longer alive.
Shit-Town has taught me that no matter your town, big, small, shitty, or classy, life is a beautifully orchestrated masterpiece that is as complex as the maze referenced in this podcast. While during our short time on earth we can take many twists, and turns, and even backtrack, one inescapable reality is our clocks will one day stop, and we are not promised tomorrow. Using the maze metaphor, the biggest take-away I gained is the clue to navigate the troubles and mountaintop moments of life.
Living is complex, sharing our vulnerabilities, showing compassion, and caring about one another are not signs of weakness. These attributes embody being, loving, and living through the pain for however much time we are given.
If you feel alone, depressed, hopeless or as if life is not worth living, please do not keep these thoughts and feelings to yourself, because the pain of losing a loved one to suicide is unbearable. I beg you to talk with someone; share your burden; do not put a period where there is meant to be a semicolon. I wish I could formulate more coherent thoughts, however, after writing this for my own wellbeing I need to sit out in the sun, listen to the birds sing, breathe and remind myself why I am alive.
Until next time,