Barbara Gowdy

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Is that how he sees it? He knows how much his death

Is that how he sees it? He knows how much his death will hurt us, so he must be under the impression that by staying alive he’ll eventually hurt us even more. Maybe we should pretend we’ve stopped caring what he does. Say, “We’ve given up on you, Abel. You don’t matter.” Well, that would gratify him, our failling in line with what he has been telling us for months. How do we get around that? How do we persuade him that he’s entitled to cause pain and, what’s more, that he has a responsibility to bear the pain that he causes? If only I could say, “You’re worthy of your own life,” and make him believe me. Too late. Too late. He seems completely enraptured now by the idea of no longer existing. I think he imagines the space he’ll vacate, the actually physical space, and there we’ll be, his parents and I, waving our hands around trying to find him, but at least we won’t come up against any resistance. There won’t be anything to collide with, only air.

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Life is oblivion erupting, for a brief moment, into

Life is oblivion erupting, for a brief moment, into nonoblivion in order so that oblivion may proclaim… “I am.” The assumption being, that living things are aware enough to make such a proclamation. Let us suppose that they are. Let us suppose that they are, to a degree, self-aware. This makes for the possibility of life recognizing itself, yes, but not as oblivion, only as life. In order for life to recognize itself as a fleeting pulse of oblivion, self-awareness, must be refined into pure awareness, which is observation unimpaired by either ego or preconceptions.

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