A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir

“It is useless to try to integrate life and death and to behave rationally in the presence of something that is not rational:  each must manage as well as he can in the tumult of his feelings.”

Oh boy, de Beauvoir.  Oh boy.  Isn’t that the truth?

I had no idea the subject matter when I ordered this book and I had no idea how the weeks following placing that order would go.  It was kind of nice, you know, to read another person’s experience with the death of a parent.  It was nice to see what goes through their mind, the regrets and tenderness and despair.

When Simone’s mother fell, they expected nothing more than a broken femur.  What they found instead was cancer and an inevitable death.  In the weeks leading up to the end, Simone and her sister spend their days at their mother’s side and Simone has time to consider their relationship and her mother’s life.  For me the most honest part was the end, after her mother’s death, when she talks about the silly things they feel they must hold onto and the surprising intensity of feeling.

“All men must die: but for every man his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation.”

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