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“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.”
—Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

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Thinking of death as beautiful seems a strange thing in a world where fear rules many of our feelings toward it. People fear possible pain, suffering, or struggling. They fear dying too soon, or even too late. They fear dying in a way that negates the way they lived, or changes how people view them. People fear not being able to accomplish certain things; of what life will be like once they are gone. And of course, people fear what will happen to them after.

Death is such a taboo subject in many cultures that it is simply avoided. But not everyone is okay with that, and many provide insight on the beauty of death to open people’s minds to a different perspective on the subject. There are discussions, books, videos, and so much more.

Called The Life of Death, the following short video was hand-drawn by Marsha Onderstijin, an animator and storyboard artist from the Netherlands. The video, which was well received among many animation festivals, tells the story of the day Death fell in love with Life.

The video follows a recognizable but more approachable version of death as “he” goes about his day as death does. The story will open not only your mind, but your heart, allowing you to accept death as a natural, beautiful, and necessary thing.

The simple artistry of the film makes it more digestible. We see death in the form of a loving companion as opposed to something overwhelmingly terrifying to the point where we cannot even fathom it for fear of losing our immediate sense of calm.

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Death resembles more a child in this video than a horrific and powerful force. He goes about touching animals in need of peace and eternal rest with an utter unknowing of what he is doing. And when he comes around to the reality of his actions, he is pained to find that when he touches what he loves, he loses it forever.

Rarely is death represented in human form, and so, when it is, we find ourselves more easily able to relate. The video may cause tears to well up in your eyes, a chill to crawl down your spine, and the hair on your arms to rise, but for the first time, when it comes to death, that feeling won’t necessarily be bad, but simply different, and maybe even beautiful.
Enjoy watching the following short film, and share it with anyone who you feel may need a new perspective on the subject to take the fear of death away.
Marsha Onderstijin studied animation at the St. Joost Kunstacademie in Breda, where she specialized in 2D animation. Since graduating in 2012, she has worked as a freelance animator and storyboard artist.

 


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