Please be warned this is gonna be a heavy post. I may or may not make sense in many areas or at all. But, this is just how I see it – death.
I count myself lucky that my closest of kin i.e. grandparents, uncles, aunts and parents are all physically around with me. I haven’t lost a close friend due to death yet. But, I’ve been affected when I hear about the sudden passing of familiar faces. The faces you saw frequently, some occasionally. Yet you never would have thought, that would have been the last interaction. When such a thing happens, I begin to wonder why things had to play out such? Why were they caught in that situation, in that moment? Why hadn’t it been someone else in that place in time? Why did they do something out of the norm? Were they destined to die? Or, was it just a matter of bad luck?
When my distant uncle passed on 4.5 years ago, I was amidst school commitments. I didn’t know how to react when I heard the news as I was wrapping up the event I had organised. I couldn’t remember when I saw him last. When I last heard his laugh. But, I wished him well for he was in a better place. He was a religious man. He was a grandfather to many. A happy man who had lived life. His passing felt natural, justified.
My cousin passed on in an accident, mishap when she was a few months shy of turning 12. I was in my secondary school at that time. Around 15 years old. We didn’t grow up together and saw each other during family gatherings probably once a year, hence were not close. I wasn’t deeply affected by her death. I was sad, for she passed away at such a young age when she had a whole life ahead of her. I felt sad for her parents, her two older siblings who doted on her being the last child of the family. I wondered why she had to climb onto her stool to grab her favourite dress when she had already changed into something else after coming out of her shower. Did she want to surprise her dad who was returning home after a business trip for Father’s Day? Why did her mother enter the shower just after her daughter came out? Would this have happened if her mum had showered before her daughter went in?
Time is said to heal wounds. But, does it? When it’s not just hurt but loss. The loss of a life. The loss of your loved one. The unexplainable amount of pain you feel in every bone of yours. When sometimes even tears fail to pour the pain in your heart out. Some deal with death by turning to religion. They seek peace and comfort in the guidance He shows. Does it really work? Some try to busy themselves with things, in the hope of occupying themselves so that their mind doesn’t wonder off. Some turn to alcohol to numb the pain. Some continue mentioning their loved one’s name in dinner conversations to feel his/her presence surround them. To feel as if they never left you and that they’re just on a really long vacation in the Caribbean. Some get inked and do a lot of other things to feel physical pain. Some seek other forms of love in the attempt of replacing their loved one. I would think that fails, doesn’t it?
I deal with death by being silent, cause I really think words fail in such moments. Even words like we are all here for you feels like it amounts to nothing although offered with a heart full of love and comfort. There is nothing to be said or done cause all you’re left with are questions when a death hits you so suddenly. You wonder why you took life for granted although you knew very life is short. You knew better than that, despite the cliche-ness of the phrase. All the grievances you had harboured, the anger, the ego all pales when something larger than life hits. All that runs through you are wishes. To have one last time with your loved one. One last conversation. One last touch. One last laugh.
I still offer my words of comfort to someone who is dealing with death. Physical presence by being there for someone works wonders most of the times. But, I’m not sure if I would like these reciprocated when I’m on the receiving end.
You eventually heal. Or, get somewhat close to that. But it takes a long while. A really long while to get there. To find strength beneath all the pain. To continue living life to make your loved one(s) proud. But how do you get there?
How do you deal with death?