The Bourne Veracity

Matt Damon may once again breathe life into his alter ego, Jason Bourne. A 2016 release date has been mentioned, but it is still unclear if production will happen at all, so don’t get too excited just yet. Nevertheless, if you are a Bourne fan it’s hard not to get at least a tiny thrill out of the idea of this proposed sequel.

This is due, in part, to the excellent acting of Matt Damon who seems to grace every movie he is in with a unique flair that is his and his alone. But the Robert Ludlum stories are classic in their own right, so the two go hand-in-hand to produce an unbeatable package.

Some think the name “Bourne” is a reference to 19th century Ansel Bourne whose “dissociative fugue” (loss of identity and memory) became famous in psychological circles, but it is hard to establish this with any certainty, although it sounds quite plausible to me.

I must admit that when I woke up this morning and lay quietly in bed the word “bourne” came to mind. But I was not thinking of the movie; rather, the phrase from Hamlet, i.e. “from whose bourn no traveler returns . . . .”

That is, I was thinking about my mother and father, both departed from this world.

“Bourne” means boundary, limit, goal, or destination [evidently, bourne and bourn are the same word with a variant spelling]. And Shakespeare’s reference in Hamlet’s soliloquy is clearly describing death, that “undiscovered country” from which visitors never return. And I woke up this morning thinking, “where are they?”

The thought is not a new one for me, of course. It visits me regularly.

Religious faith offers some answers to this question, of course. But it is devoid of the kind of detail I seek. Well meaning persons can sometimes pontificate on the subject, but in the final analysis their words often lack credibility.

So, what assurances are we left with? Can our departed loved ones see us? Do they care about what happens on earth? Can they offer assistance to us in difficult situations? [The questions are endless].

Friends and relatives of mine who are of the atheistic persuasion believe that when you die you are “like Rover, dead all over” (as the preachers used to say when I was a boy). And my intention in writing this today is not to argue that point. It is merely to make some observations about which I’ve been thinking.

When life departs from a person, I mean the moment the last breath is drawn . . . the soberness of the moment is astounding; the silence is deafening. The moment is sacred even if the departed one is not someone you know.

But if you know the man or woman, or if you are a close friend or family member, the moment of his/her passing has a gravity that rivals Jupiter; you may gasp for air or even grow faint. And if you are not affected in this kind of way you will, no doubt, find that your emotions are arrested, held captive by the momentous event you have just witnessed.

Something monumental has occurred. Of that, there is no doubt.

Is it simply because every person is important to someone else? And so we instinctively and naturally respond with compassion when someone departs this earth, even if we don’t know him/her?

Or is it that the gift of life itself is so unbelievably valuable to us that we agonize over its passing whenever we see it go?

My father crossed a boundary almost 6 years ago, a bourne from which he has not returned. My mother reached that same destination 2 1/2 years ago, and I have not seen her since. Others relatives and close friends have made that same journey. Either they have gone nowhere and have simply ceased to exist, or they have passed into an alternate state and will eventually reappear in another form in the circle of life, or . . . they have indeed reached a destination, crossed a boundary, entered a realm with a one-way door – and they are there now.

[BTW, Christian people find it all-important that Jesus crossed this same boundary and yet returned; this is the bedrock of their faith. My parents shared this faith, as do I.]

Life is so sacred. Relationships so precious. Living is an invaluable gift. Existence such a privilege. Awareness is priceless.

I cannot conceive of it just ending. Everything in me finds sonority, enjoys resonance, when I entertain thoughts of a life after this one. Does that prove anything about where my parents currently reside? Of course not.

But it is consonant.

After all, if Jason Bourne can be resurrected for another episode . . . anything is possible. In fact, it would seem inconceivable . . . if he did not return.

About ivanbenson

I am a singer, guitar player, writer, story teller, voice over talent, and heart attack survivor in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
This entry was posted in Aging Parents, Family History, Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Bourne Veracity

  1. As (one of?) your atheist relative(s), I want to commend, once again, your careful capturing of emotion with language, in this case, especially these words: “When life departs from a person, I mean the moment the last breath is drawn . . . the soberness of the moment is astounding; the silence is deafening. Life is so sacred. Relationships so precious. Living is an invaluable gift. Existence such a privilege. Awareness is priceless.” As I so recently experienced with the quiet death your Aunt Sarah, my sister, as all alone I stood beside her, holding her hand, “the soberness of the moment is [truly] astounding.”

    • ivanbenson says:

      You know how important your accolades are to me; I am honored. As you also know, the writing process for me is a delight; painful, arduous, but satisfying at the same time. Thanks for always reading and responding to my thoughts. It means a great deal.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I was thinking of both of them earlier this week as well 😉 love you!

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