When you pop your clogs and saunter off into the clouds for an eternal rest (or indeed down the staircase into the fiery depths – depends how good you’ve been), have you thought about what you might say last?
Perhaps you’ll bestow your deepest, most heart-wrenching love upon your nearest and dearest? Or utter some wise words to keep the kids in good stead before you leave them forever?
Or maybe you’ll just make the room crack up. This was the route of a few key historical individuals, and it certainly meant they lived on. And on and on…
I think it started when I first heard Oscar Wilde’s parting gift. Wilde was suffering with a terrible illness, and in his last days he lay down and said, “My wallpaper and I are facing a duel to the death. One or another of us must go!” I mean, come on. That is bloody cool. If you’re going to remain a gay icon for the rest of history, commenting on the interior design of your deathbed is the way to secure it.
Another fucking rad way to go out was the way Winston Churchill managed it. Now there’s a guy who knew how to live – and apparently how to die. Churchill suffered a stroke – which isn’t very glamorous – but when he stated, “I’m bored with it all” and swiftly slipped into a coma before his death, he gained legendary status. Surely what everyone wants is to nonchalantly say; “Boom! Yeah I’m done here, strike me down now. Yawn.” It’s pretty freaking awesome.
Lastly on my list of bloody amazing ways to go is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I’m going to represent the women here and put it out there. Browning’s last words are fantastic. Browning had lain down and was dying of unknown causes when her husband asked her how she felt, she replied simply, “beautiful”. She died seconds later. Now if that isn’t a hopeful statement, I don’t know what is.
My morbid curiosity may not be shared by everyone, but when I think of death I want to imagine it with hope, I want it to be powerful and funny. Reading these last words actually fills me with a bucket load of comfort. And that’s the bucket of comfort I want to kick in my last moments.
I see nothing morbid in last words. Everyone dies, so instead of getting all “thats weird” or even sad, I say embrace it and have some fun with it. Like the lovely Kelli, my obession also started with Oscar Wilde. I love famous quotations and I adore anything that has come out of Wildes’ witty mind. The obession increased when I read John Greens looking for Alaska (the protagonist, simular to Green himself, is also obessed with famous peoples last words)
I like quotes in general. If you have any of my previous articles on The High Tea Cast, you’ll know I’m always trying to slip a favourite quote in there. Volitaire is one such quote machine. Voiltaire I think is more famous for saying “I detest what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, which I think is simply brilliant. But the close second is from when he was lying on his death bed. The preist next to him once more asked if he would renounce the devil and Voltaire replied “Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies”
Groucho Marx was funny ’til the end, and when he was laying on his bed and his wife said please don’t die he responded with words of comfort “Die my dear? Why, thats the last thing I’ll do”
Karl Marx was as eloquent as ever when he was about to kick the bucket . When people were pestering him for some last great words from the writer of the communist manifesto, Marx riposted; “Go on get out! Last words are for fools who havn’t said enough.”
However Edison’s last words are simply bewitching even to a staunch athesist like me. When asked how he was he said ”It is beautiful over there”. As the brilliant John Green said “I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful”
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