Pastabagel on Partial Objects has an analysis of Mark Rife, a man who counted down the last thousand days of his life. Mark’s wife Sarah was injured when she fell in a waterfall. She recovered, then six months later, she died in her sleep. One night while watching the Leo di Caprio version of Romeo & Juliet, she pondered the question, “If Romeo had waited a thousand days, would he still want to die?”
The question stuck with Mark after his wife’s death. He wanted to die from the grief, but because of his wife’s question, he vowed to live for 1,000 days trying to find meaning in his life. He blogged his venture though Tumblr has removed his blog.
He didn’t find the meaning he sought and ultimately killed himself. His brother’s response to his suicide can be found here. Other people have spoken out about it, and a lot of them say that if he’d kept his faith (he was a pastor) then he wouldn’t have killed himself.
Those people, to me, miss the entire point of his death. I’ll just leave it at that.
I think it was weird for him to document his last one thousand days, though I understand the compulsion. There have been times when it felt like I have nothing but the internet – the ringing vacant mass of people I don’t know but who read my words anyway. And they seem much easier to confess certain things to than anyone else. And there have been times there simply wasn’t anyone else.
I think Mark wanted to leave something of himself – that blog – because he wasn’t even sure he existed anymore. I think Mark was not the attention whore that some accuse him of being. I think he was in a great deal of pain, very confused, and he knew the outcome of his journey before he took the first step.
I have nothing but respect for a person who so chooses to live his life on his own terms.