As we commemorate the day of Souls and Saints, I thought of coming up with… not a scary story because I don’t like scary stories (even if the manuscript I’m currently working on has taken that turn). I just thought of writing something on death and dying which is exactly the reason for the celebration.
I first thought of writing this entry a couple of months ago when a friend (not very close to me, although we know each other well enough) died of brain cancer. I put this on hold because I’d lost whatever it was I wanted to write about.
But, here we are, I’m bringing this out and continuing the couple of sentences that I started this with. Here goes…
I have dealt with many deaths in the past decades both in the family and among friends and colleagues. Whichever the situation, death is always a sad occurrence. No matter how ready or how accepting of the end the dying person is, you as the person left behind will have to deal with the loss, pain, regret of the person’s passing.
You will miss that person, albeit in varying degrees and in varying lengths of time. Remembering the dead brings a pain to the heart, also in varying levels and circumstances. There is the possibility of regret in that there could be unfinished business between you and the dearly departed such as not having done things together or said things to each other as often as you both should have.
Some deaths also bring about a feeling of triumph. Not that we feel triumphant at a person’s passing (although there are some who, when they die, we would be compelled to throw a party for good riddance), but we feel triumphant when we read and find out that he/she had been able to live quite a full life. Messages of thanks, testimonials, simple gestures of condolences. These warm our hearts. Our dear departed was well liked. Well loved.
In whatever situation, death and loss leaves one a thought, thus:
The other day, I saw on Twitter, a tweet by friend and fellow author Maan Beltran, on how she thought of the end. Her end. Would she leave behind people whose lives she may have touched so that when she dies, these people would actually shed tears of sadness at her passing? I replied that there are several times I thought of that as well. And I wish and I hope (Maan, as well) that when I/we die, family, friends and colleagues would show up at our wake with more than just wanting to see if we were really dead. But more because they want to be with us for the last time. That they are able to shed a tear because our passing pains them so.
See, personally, I think it’s a sad occurrence that no one sheds a tear for you. It’s sad to look back and see that so many people passed through your life and you were nothing but a forgettable speck in their past. You question yourself then, didn’t I do enough to make people remember me?
In all these, my point is, life is short. Life is a gift. Make use of that gift. If you can’t make something big of yourself, make yourself something big (or at least sizable enough) for another. (But of course, we all know it starts with the self, right?)
Tecumseh’s poem encapsulates what I am trying to say…
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. … Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Have a happy life everyone!