Faced with the proximity of death, the psychoanalyst Contardo Calligaris, who died in March 2021, repeated to his family: “I hope to live up to it”. It is not known what he intended to say with that phrase, but those who read his columns can imagine that Contardo was referring more to life than to death. After all, he once wrote that a life that deserves to be told was definitely worth it (his can be known in countless reports and interviews and, yes, it would make a book).
It is impossible to speak of life without implying death, and vice versa. The phrases gathered in today’s column —said by some of the important Brazilian personalities who died recently— are reflections on aging and/or dying and prove that the closer death gets, the more time becomes valuable and the greater the desire for well-being. enjoy it.
Clarice Lispector summarized well this understanding of death as the meaning of life in the book “Água Viva”, from 1973, in which she wrote: ‘Life is the desire to continue living and alive is that thing that is going to die. Life is for dying of it”.
Like Contardo and Clarice, there are many people who, even when they leave, stay.
I was afraid of getting old when I passed 40, but after 80 I’m used to it. The fear of death is a useless feeling: you are going to die anyway, there is no point in being afraid. I’m afraid of being unproductive. I just hope to die ‘man, it’s over’.” Jô Soares in conversation with presenter Marcelo Tas, from the program “Provocações”, in 2020.
When you’re young, don’t you think a lot about dying, about death? But when it arrives, you start to think that there is an hour that ends, right? And I hope it has life after we erase it. I’m afraid of death, I still want to do things. Do I want, desire? Life without work and without music is very boring. It’s hard to get old, but at the same time it’s good because the older you get, the longer you live, and life is so beautiful. I love life!” Gal Costa in an interview with presenter Serginho Groisman, in 2021.
Life was showing me that it is beautiful, it is always born and reborn. Everything I’ve done, the right things and the wrong things, have been good because they shaped me, and I love the man I am today.” Erasmo Carlos for Quem magazine, in 2015.
Maturity makes you cooler. Sometimes, I realize that, internally, I’m not cool. I go in search of something that makes me cool. (…) There are people who say to me like this: ‘Oh, how fragile you are’. I say: ‘Fragile? I’m the strongest person I know’. They come close to me and say: ‘Let’s change the aortic valve’. I say: ‘Okay, let’s go’. ‘We are going to do five heart bypasses’. ‘Okay, let’s go’. ‘Put on the pacemaker’. ‘OK’. I’d do anything to stay here.” Claudia Jimenez, to “Fantástico”, in 2014.
There’s no way a 55-year-old woman wants to look like she’s 40. Or 30, as some claim… I’m getting old! I want to be a 57-year-old woman in the best possible shape.” Isabel Salgado, the Isabel of volleyball, in an interview with Trip magazine, in 2016.
I no longer have time to explain to the average people whether or not I am losing faith, because I admire the poetry of Chico Buarque, Mário Quintana or Vinicius de Moraes; the voice of Maria Bethânia; the books of Machado de Assis, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway and José Lins do Rego. Without many jabuticabas in the basin, I want to live alongside human people, very human ones; who knows how to laugh at her stumbles, is not enchanted by triumphs, does not consider herself chosen for the ‘last minute’; does not shy away from his mortality, defends the dignity of the marginalized, and wants to walk humbly with God. Walking around these people will never be a waste of time.” Poem by Rolando Boldrin about aging.