死の話 Let’s talk about Death



The world is overflowing with death. Every single day news of another tragedy is delivered to us through smartphone applications. The more friends you have on social media, the more run-ins you have with death, be it them or their loved ones.

We’re closer to death than ever before.



別の友人は、昔NYで死にかけた。ルームシェアをしていた部屋でHold Upにあったのだ。目的は強盗。友人とシェア仲間を、犯人は包丁で刺した。ルームシェア相手は死に、筆者の友人は助かった。生き残った彼に、ルームシェア相手の家族から向けられた目線は、複雑だ。実際にそう言われたわけじゃない。でも、聴こえる。「ウチの息子でなく、なぜ君なんだ?」と。死は残されたものにトラウマを残す。

Death is Alive

My friend lost his wife earlier this year. She passed less than a year after they found the cancer. She was only in her mid-thirties. Near the end she was barely conscious, and the few moments of the day she was awake she’d be looking for a box cutter to end her life. “It was fun,” she’d tell her husband, “so let me die while I’m happy.” Now he’s a prisoner of his own regret. “What could I have done for her?”

Another friend of mine almost died in New York. A burglary. Held up in his shared apartment. His roommate was stabbed with a kitchen knife. My friend made it out alive. The roommate wasn’t so lucky. From what I hear facing the parents was… complicated. They didn’t come out and say it, but you could hear it in their tone. “Why not you? Why’d it have to be our son?” Sometimes death is harder for the survivors.


Me, I run a company. A few years back a lovable college grad joined us. Her dad was a designer and she wanted to be an editor. Right after she entered the company I put her in charge of directing a photoshoot. Despite being her first time the composition and use of color were swell. The clients loved her. I knew that with a little guidance she was going places. A year and a half later she was dead. Totally out of the blue. She was fretting over a guy she’d been seeing for about a month, had too much to drink, got carried away and that was that. I despised him. So much so that I tracked down his name and laid into him on social media. How’d he take it? Where does he live? Where does he hang? Death breeds hatred.


身近になったとき、死は魅力的だ。死の話題に頭を奪われ、そればかり考えてしまう。死んでいった相手にあの時何ができた? 残された自分にできることは? 自分は生きる価値があるのか……。

Death is Alive cont.

When the death is someone close to you, it can be irresistable. Once it gets on your mind you can’t think of anything else. Could you have done anything to save them? What can you do now? What right do you have to be alive…?
Round and round and round it goes. Once you start thinking about death it courses through your brain. Death in the morning and in the afternoon. It only gets worse as the evening approaches. If you let it get to you, you’ll start wanting to die yourself. You’ll start thinking of a good place to do it. Worst case scenario you might even feel like killing someone else.

そしていま、“死の話”という誘惑は、スマホへ通知されるようになった。“目覚ましをかけたスマホのアラームを止めるとき”に、大量殺人事件や悲惨なテロ、そうしたもののヘッドラインニュースに一瞬接してから目覚める時代だ。目覚めて5秒で、死の話題に接するのが日常? クレイジーとしか言いようがない。

Thanks to technology these death whispers find their way into our heads via smartphones. Turn off the morning alarm and start your day with notifications about mass killings, terrorism and other horrible headlines. Hearing about death in the first five seconds of your day is the new norm. It’s crazy. What else can I say?
Regret, rage, hatred, sadness. Death gives way to them all. Right after my employee passed away I took my grief out on her would-be boyfriend. I couldn’t eat for days. Before long the weight started falling off my body.
I was saved by an invitation from her mother to visit their house. We looked at family photos and watched videos from happier days. There she was, that fun-loving girl with the incredible smile. Seeing all of this, I was reminded of the importance of family. By the time I arrived back on my doorstep I found myself wanting to start my own. I was back in the land of the living.


Two years have passed. Now I’m married with a baby on the way. I don’t know if this is alright to say, but in a way her death gave way to a new life. Death isn’t all pain and suffering. It can also lead to living.
How will we go about living in an age where all we see on our phones is dying? What follows so much death?


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