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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Will I?

One song that really hit home in RENT was "Will I?" It is a very simple song - a round, really, consisting of just three lines, overlapped by many voices:

Will I lose my dignity?
Will someone care?
Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?

Here it is from the movie version:

This song isn't just about people facing the future of living with AIDS. It applies to us all. As someone who has spent so very much time in nursing homes, hospitals, and the VA, when I hear this song I see my great-aunt, my grandmother, my father, my uncle - all of whom had family and friends who visited them every day - and hundreds and hundreds of others who did not have even that. Unless the way end-of-life care is handled in this world changes, I fear the answers to the three questions are Yes, Maybe, and No.

The point has been made in music before.

Elvis Costello, Veronica:

Moby, Natural Blues:

Death sucks. Have I mentioned that before? I think I have.

Do what you can to help others keep their dignity at the end of their lives.

"Sometimes we'd just sit there, and she wouldn't say anything, and I wouldn't say anything. And you can try and work out what was going on in her head. But I think it's something we don't understand. Not yet, anyway."

- Elvis Costello, spoken at the end of the Veronica video


joy said...

"Death sucks"? Maybe, maybe not.
More likely DYING sucks. Or the "living" that occurs BEFORE death sucks, especially if you wind up in a nursing home during those last awful days...(months...years...?) If that is how your life ends, then I suspect Death is often a longed-for Blessing.

supertiff said...

'will i' is one of my favorite moments in the production, but the part where collins reprises 'i'll cover you' after angel dies? i can't even listen to that on the soundtrack without crying.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'd have to disagree with you on the "death sucks" thing (for the most part).

Now dying, that most certainly sucks. It's never pretty or easy.

Professor J said...

Thank you for this. I think that death does suck.

For us out here.