Spoiler Alert: It is highly suggested that you first read Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, just in case you haven’t yet, before you go on.
I was just done reading the book and I am struggling with great difficulty to keep the tears from falling. But anyway, this isn’t some sort of a book review. It’s more of sharing my perspective regarding the primary theme of the book, which is no less than a person’s right to die, and looking at it on a kind of intimate level- through the life of Will Traynor. And throwing out a little disclaimer out there, this is not an attempt to find moral redemption in defense of Will or whatsoever.
A little refresher: Will lived a big life- he’s smart and good-looking, he’s athletic, he had an illustrious career, he travelled a lot, and he loved adventures. He was born to wealthy parents and he’s used to having his way- not in a bratty sense but in a way that things he want seem to be falling upon his lap mostly because he has made himself a great guy. He had a girlfriend who was as perfect as what his life used to be. Then, the accident happened. He became permanently damaged- he can never make use of everything from chest down except from slightly moving his fingers on one hand. Two years later, Will decided that he wanted to die.
I believe that the choice really is up to Will. And it is just right to leave him to the end he had chosen for himself. When I lost the one thing which I believed is my only ticket to the life I have dreamt of for myself, I wanted to die. I cannot picture myself doing something else for the rest of my days, and I wouldn’t. And the funny thing is I only had to let it slip for a year. Given that we are never entirely sure of the future, and mine may hold a dozen more obstacles to hinder me from achieving the life I’ve wanted, I had and still have countless chances. Even if I don’t end up being what I have pictured myself to become, there are so many paths that I could possibly take, most of which could potentially make me feel happy and whole in the long run. And despite knowing all these, grief still got the better of me. During those darkest moments, I was sure I no longer wanted to continue. My moments are still kind of dark, and having known what it felt like to be someone with nothing to lose, I think I stopped fearing death. It’s not everyday that I’m ready to face death, though. It just feels like from that moment on, I am a little bit more prepared for the day. If I felt like that over something that would look petty in the grand scheme of things, I never wondered why Will knew what choice to make. Even after Lou.
Ironically, even if it was Will who’d eventually die and cease to exist, I think this choice was easiest for him. It’s not too hard to put myself in Will’s shoes. I know I’d never fully understand how much he had suffered, and even so, I already fully understood what he chose for himself and why. What I cannot imagine is being Lou, Steven, Georgina, and, most of all, Camilla. I cannot fully absorb how it would be to allow the person you love to choose to die. Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, it’s easier to fight the battle than to surrender. And this time, letting go means no more going back. It’s locking doors and throwing the keys.
It wasn’t easy being Steven or Georgina, having a son or a brother committing suicide with you allowing it to happen. But they had full lives ahead of themselves, even Steven despite his age, and they could surely move on. It may take time, months or years maybe, but they would. It was perhaps more difficult to be Lou- imagine meeting the one true love of your life who understood and saw you in a way that nobody else did or ever would, throwing the life you’ve always known and grown comfortable with out the window all because of this person, and, in the end, never being enough for that one person to change his mind. Then again, Will made a mark on Lou’s life, and this mark would allow Lou to live a much different and better life, a life that Lou has always deserved. Will paved a whole new road for Lou, and she has so much in store for her even after Will. However, the tragedy of being Camilla is beyond words. Camilla has always held back but I don’t think she actually wanted to. I think she just felt that being more intimate or involved would hurt more than it would help. Though at the end, Will asked for his family after he shared his last few moments with Lou. And I’d like to think that the distance between Will and Steven, Georgina, and especially Camilla was braved and given proper closure.
Despite ultimately agreeing to Will, in the course of reading the book, I admit that I wasn’t completely into his choice. Just like the people who loved him deeply, I wanted him to choose life over death even if it means no chance of him getting better. It was utterly heartbreaking. Yet, when he said that this is the only thing left he had a control over ever since the accident, I knew that to accept Will’s decision for himself was the best thing someone who loves him could do for him.
Will wasn’t selfish or too proud to accept his fate. It’s not about Will, and his family as well as Lou for that matter, being right or wrong. It’s about being human. And that, more than anything, is what we should be after all.