“I’m sorry about your father and brother.”
“I will see them again. We Transylvanians always look on the brighter side of death.”
“There’s a brighter side of death?”
“Yes. It’s just harder to see.”
– Gabriel Van Helsing & Anna Valerious, Van Helsing
…what? I just told you, it’s my favorite Halloween movie. Of course I’m going to quote it! 🙂
I really love this scene in the movie. We’ve seen, up to this point, monsters running loose and terrorizing innocent people, killing a number of them. The titular Van Helsing has lived his life in the middle of that, as far back as he can remember and even longer. He’s seen plenty of bloodshed and plenty of victims. He is well-acquainted with death.
But now he meets Anna, who has suffered an even heavier burden than he, not only expected to fight monsters and protect her people, but she has lost literally every other member of her family. Her family has been fighting the evil of Dracula for nine generations now, and every last one of them has perished in battle. That’s the kind of loss that can drive any person mad with grief, but she soldiers on, not only out of stubbornness or spite for Dracula, but because she knows there is more to death than darkness.
Anna knows, better than most, that she is going to die, and though she’s in no rush to do so, she knows it won’t be all bad. She’ll see her family again.
That is a strong theme in this movie, and why I love it so much. As the heroes wade through suffering, sorrow, loss, rage, and even death, there are times when it must surely seem impossible, that any good could come of this. But it does. Though they don’t always see it, there is light, there is love, there is family, and, at the end of it all, after the horror, the struggle, the victory, and the price, there is peace.
There is a brighter side of death.
Not that we need to be at all hasty in meeting it, of course, but there’s no need to be afraid of it either. And I think we could do with some reminding of that these days. Maybe if we were a little less afraid of dying, perhaps we would live a little better.