It Begins With One Step Beyond

I’m watching this very thought-provoking anime called Shigofumi. A Shigofumi is, as the English titling suggests, a letter from the dead. In the story (no spoilers!), the young woman pictured above is the person who delivers such post; when a person dies, he or she is given the opportunity to write a letter and this woman delivers it to its intended living recipient. I’ve only watched a few episodes (three from Season 1 as of this writing) and there was a line that struck me. I can’t remember it exactly, but it was something like ‘Death doesn’t save a person. It makes them disappear.’ This statement is in contrast to ‘The Brief History of the Dead‘ by Kevin Brockmeier, a favorite read.

In this text, the dead exist in what could be described as a parallel universe. That is, until the last living person forgets them. I suggest that in Brockmeier’s text, death in a way does save a person and they don’t disappear. Needless to say, I have held onto Brockmeier’s text. Tightly. I think of it, every year, on this day. April 2. Fifty years ago today, my dear friend Don Buchanan was born. Eight years ago today, he Moved On. I envision him in Brockmeier’s world and after the goings-on in my life these last two months, now envision him talking music with my Christopher. After watching this last episode of Shigofumi, they both came to mind. I scoffed at the notion that death makes people disappear.To the creators of the anime series, no disrespect intended: I get where you were going. It’s about the way in which the person Moves On, you seem to be suggesting in this episode. That death does not erase the problem at hand but instead, simply erases the person.For those of us still on this side of the mirror, it’s not that simple.It doesn’t matter how or by what circumstance the person Left us. It’s the fact that they are gone from this side of the mirror. We try to catch glimpses. At least I do. I strain the corners of my eyes, especially when driving, as I look for my Christopher in the passenger seat. I squint at my computer as I scroll quickly through my Facebook feed. Maybe I’ll see a post from Don that wasn’t there before. In Brockmeier’s world, the dead have a lot of the same stuff we have, so computers and the interwebz are not out of range, right? And if the technology takes longer to catch up, there’s always the possibility a Shigofumi could show up, right?Good night, sweet princes, both of you. May my love fly to wherever you are.

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