[FOUNTAIN]Hearing Their Last WordsQu Qiubai (1899-1935), who is prominent in the history of the Communist Party of China, was arrested by the army of the Kuomintang Party in 1935 and was executed in June of that year. His last words, which he entitled "Unnecessary Addition," begin with a lamentation "Now, an awkward performance has finished. It is no use refusing to leave the stage." A list of "books worth reading," are included in his last words. They include Maxim Gorky's "The Life of Klim Samgin," Ivan Turgenev's "Rudin," Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," Lu Xun's "The True Story of Ah Q" and Tsao Hsueh-chin's "A Dream of Red Mansions." His final comment: "Chinese bean curd is the most delicious in the world."
Lu Xun also wrote his last words a month before he died of an illness in Shanghai in October, 1936. The last words entitled "Death," include several requests to his family members: "Don't accept condolence money from anyone except my old friends at my funeral," "Forget me and take care of yourselves," "Don't be a seeming novelist or artist," "Make friends with those who oppose revenge and insist on patience."
It is said that a human being goes through five stages as he faces death － first is denial, then anger, bargaining and depression. At the last stage, he accepts death. But that applies only to persons who have time to anticipate their deaths. Qu Qiubai could write a list of the books worth reading and Lu Xun could leave requests to his family members because they knew death was nearby. What would a human being think first when facing an unexpected death, a sudden death?
At the moment of last Tuesday's terror attacks on New York and Washington, passengers in airplanes that were turned into suicide bombs by the terrorists and victims in the World Trade Center towers which the airplanes crashed into and destroyed, left some last words which are now appearing in the media. The victims hurried to call their family members, their husbands, wives, sons and daughters, on their cellular phones as they intuited that death was approaching; "I love you. I love our daughter Emmy. Whatever decisions you make in your life, I need you to be happy, and I will respect any decisions that you make." " Hey Jules, it's Brian. I'm on a plane and it's hijacked and it doesn't look good. I just wanted to let you know that I love you and I hope to see you again. If I don't, please have fun in life and live your life the best you can," "Honey something terrible is happening. I don't think I am going to make it. I love you. Take care of the children." Their last words tear at our hearts.
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Bae Myung-bok