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27 May 2007 @ 08:16 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 180: Question 180  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1173

If you could completely start your life over from scratch, what would you do differently the second time around (if anything)? Why?

There are some animals that never take a mate again after their first one dies. Whether it is genetics, or smell, or, something more intrinsic that drives them, there are accounts of things like that happening. A female bird dies, and the male will simply not take another girl. He’ll either continue life, without a mate, or die because she’s gone. It doesn’t matter if there was some form of infidelity in the marriage between them, that it wasn’t strictly monogamous, they know that the bond is there, that ultimately, they prefer each other and like to keep each other’s company the most. Without it, though, what is left for those animals that chose death without their partner, or life continued, also, with no one? That is a matter I have been trying to figure out since the collapse of the Twin Towers. I’m not sure I’ll ever answer it completely, but I have surmised, as an animal of sorts, without my mate, why some animals such as that, chose either of those paths.

In death, for that specific individual who has passed on, there is nothing anymore that really pertains to our realm of life. No longer are they subject to monetary concerns, housing woes, or the feelings and pains of living human beings. Maybe dead people live on in spirit, and perhaps they do not, but either way, what we consider normal human life has most certainly ended. Of course, being alive, I do not know what it is like being dead, if there is ever such a way of being about, so instead, I am an onlooker of death, in a way. I study how people die, and how they can be killed, and I put this knowledge to good use, helping to solve criminal and accidental acts.

Animals have memories, as do humans. Being human, we know how human memory works the best, we understand that we can recall, with a certain degree of clarity, moments within our lives that have made a permanent imprint in our mind. We can forget things as well, replacing them over time, with other newer, fresher, and more relevant circumstances. I remember the death of my wife, and my children, I remember the very day that they died, what I did that morning, what we ate for breakfast, and all that happened afterwards, because in those horrible moments, I had to commit something to memory, so afterwards, there would be something there to signify that yes, indeed, 9/11 had happened, and I was now, in a new way, mostly alone.

I am no specialist on animal memory, if there is such a profession, but from the pets I have had, and seen, over the years, I strongly suspect that the death of their partner or their best animal friend, or even human one, affects them just as deeply down as the same kind of death does to us. I have seen animals mourn, and I have seen the ones I have been most closely associated with, eventually reach a point where, maybe, either the memory lessens in their mind, or something clicks, and they decide to continue without whomever it was their heart belonged to. Suffice to say, on some levels, I think that animal mourning, the sadness of dogs, cats, birds, wolves, whichever, can be just as deep and as relevant as how we are sad after the death of someone we have liked and appreciated. The essence of spirit is very much the same, and does not need to be specified, as whatever force it is that drives us, and those animals, it so often chooses to drive us forwards, regardless of sadness and regret.

Some dogs, however, some birds and indeed some humans react to death differently. Something within them, that spirit, perhaps, breaks, and it tears down their mind, their will, their very resolve to live and continue living. I have looked at will, at spirit, and the resolve to keep living, and sometimes, death completely obliterates all of this. Oh yes, you have a well functioning animal, a wolf that can hunt, a person that can drive a car and retain the knowledge to do their chosen profession or activity, but the impetus to do everything, to continue and try to resume an altered state of normality, just does not happen. Some animals, some people, die simply because the person, the other animal, they loved the very most, is gone. Humans can consider it in terms of a lifestyle lost, or company that won’t be anymore, and maybe those animals can too, or maybe, like we do also, they know that the shared spar they had, is just gone, and will never come back.

So if I could have a do over, then, would I take it, knowing all that I do know now on how the human body reacts to personal suffering and pain, and how it can triumph over a potentially deadly depression? Hypothetical and impossible to happen as it is, yes, yes, if I had a chance, I would change something in my life. If I even had any direction towards the replay or any memory of the former life at all, if I had my wish, everything would go as normal, but on that one single day where my world changed, irrevocably and irretrievably beyond normal means of repair, I’d keep them home. If I could actively change one single thing in my life, I could stand being beaten up as a child, shouted at, cutting open fish after fish, or body after body, to live my life in one of my chosen professions, but, oh bless, I would keep them home. I’d preserve the three lives, Marianne, Michael, Christopher, and I’d keep them home, keep them safe, move them away from the centre of the explosions, the falling debris, the crashing planes, the fires, the smell of permanent, staining death. I’d protect them, I’d keep them safe on that day, I’d prevent them from leaving for work, I’d keep them home.

Some animals die because they have nothing left, no want to continue, and some, who can be exactly the same in nature, in experiences, in development, will continue, and we can never explain it fully. Whatever a spirit is, however strong it is, depends upon, really, minute actions and reactions within an individual. I chose to continue, but I have the memory of three wonderful people backing me up. Maybe I could have died that day, could have gone out through my own means, or through broken heart syndrome, but I think, my spirit and my will saved me. However, whatever, prevented me from giving up, from breaking beyond repair, I am grateful, in this life that I can not change, that I am still alive. This is, because, while I am still alive, I can make a difference, and then, maybe, I can help solve crimes, and in some cases, give comfort to people who might not, otherwise, have anything left.
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