Before I Disappear

January 13, 2016


When we say one has meaning in life, we normally attribute a sense of purpose or at least fullness which occupies each waking day. There is a reason for getting up in the morning. There is a reason for withstanding the throttling of the waking moment, from sunrise to sunset. So when this lacks, when there is no meaning nor purpose to standing straight, dissatisfaction or even resentment from having to maintain one’s life as if it were a chore creeps in until the burden becomes too burdensome.


The young male protagonist in Before I Disappear has lost all meaning in his life, whatever little it was, when he lost his girlfriend. Aside from her he is simply a mess of a human being, indulging in narcotics to make his life’s weight lighter for him to carry. And yet he has a constant drive to end it. As one of his employers declares, death is a part of the fabric of his very soul. He is, more or less, a walking deadman only to be interrupted by an emergency from his sister who has intentionally ostracized him from her life because of his ostensible devastation he could bring to her and her daughter.


In having to tend to his niece, in one short evening, he learns to appreciate and to indeed love some aspects of human living. In one short evening his niece teaches him how one can find meaning in one’s life, which is simply put to love something. And yet, is it ever that simple? One cannot love an inanimate object, for that provides no gratification compared to loving another human being – which is precisely why he responded so strongly to her endearment of his very existence. It provided him some perspective, a moment of clarity of you will, that his life does not have to be immersed in hard drugs and the underworld of New York City. He has a choice. He can live above the sewers or within it.


It is this defining point which enables him to affirm living. He found, in his bleakest of moments, incidentally, a reason for being. And it all came from the unconditional love from his family. This is not to say a family life is a guarantor of happiness and well-being, only that it is much easier to find value in oneself when one can so freely and easily give and gratify someone else. One’s value is unavoidably apparent through the gift of freely giving to another human, as the protagonist learned.


Grade: A-



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