One of Sydney Chaplin’s greatest fears as told in perspective of Lucille Ricksen.
Yet another rejected and very early draft of my novel, Human Wreckage.
We would talk about everything and anything. One of the topics being Syd’s terrifying fear of dying.
That was something that never bothered me. I certainly didn’t want to die young, but I was never scared of death. At times, it seemed wonderful. Just a long, heavy deep sleep. Many times during my career I dreamt of the sleep of the dead.
His fear of dying kept him from living. As he got older, he would settle in his chair and watch the light fade from his garden. Maybe he knew that’s how we experience death. Or at least how I experienced death.
A light coming from one side and slowly closing you out of the earth. Death is no sudden black. Maybe Sydney was onto something–death comes just like the sunset. Slowly, colors will fade and your vision will turn white then to black. The sky never changes colors in a mere second. It will gradually change. You simply don’t realize what is happening, until after it has happened.
Just like falling asleep. You don’t remember the exact second you are dreaming, but you are. Death, for me, was a beautiful moment in history. Despite the circumstances, it was beautiful.
Once the sun finally settled, Syd would sit and cry alone in his chair. Most people who are fortunate enough to even watch the sun fall feel calm and peaceful. He found it morbid. The sun going down only proved to him that time truly does go by and that he has lost yet another day of living. The older he got and the more days he lost, the more depressed he became.
He hated anything that had to do with death. I like to think that’s the reason why he never paid me visits while I was dying. Imagine my disappointment when he never showed at my bedside.