not that i have faced many deaths among ppl i know. i surely dont really know how to behave in a funeral home. do i smile at them? do i have to cry? i mean, i’m sad for their loss, but crying seemed like pretense. i quickly erased the acknowledgement smile from my face and instead directly asked where her body was placed.
she lay there on a saree-wrapped mattress. her portrait on a table ahead of her. garlands around her neck and body. we could hear prayer music chanting “Om Nama Shivaya“. the smell of incense. i stood there looking at her embalmed body, looked real.
it wasnt like the typical scene you’ll find in tamil movies, where all the ladies will be beating their chests and wailing abt why she (the dead person) didnt take them (the wailing ppl) with her. but i could see almost everyone’s eyes was red from crying. when i asked someone if everyone was ok, she said, “what to do, we are all controlling ourselves”. it was a redundant question, but what was i do say???? “dont worry?” “keep strong?” that sounds really hypocritical isnt it?
i placed some loose flowers on her leg and touched the legs, and went to sit by a corner. everyone was quiet, sad, with very little body movement from anyone other than those trinkling in to the home. now and then, someone almost burst into tears, but controlled herself quickly. and i just had no idea how i was supposed to behave.
finally my mom asked how she passed away. and the story goes that she was still talking normally in the morning, she still remembered those who visited her, but 10 min before she passed on, her breathing seemed funny. the doc told the family to inform everyone. but, 10 min obviously wasnt enough for relatives to arrive. she had had lung cancer for quite a while, and it was only detected when she was into her 3rd stage. treatments didnt work significantly, and the cancerous cells slowly spread. she died, but she died easily.
i was never really that close to her. i know her, and i know her genuineness. i also know she meant every blessing she gave me, more than my own paternal grandparents ever did. each time i met her, she’ll put her hand on my head and wish the best for me. she hugged all her sons/daughters son/daughter-in laws, nieces, nephews and made everyone feel loved.
death, is a sure loss for everyone. especially for those who have been around them for long. as i looked at her face, knowing that her children would never see her talking or hugging or blessing another being again, i also felt a bit sad. while death comes to all, accepting death is something that many of us dont deal very well with. i keep wondering how i’d react if someone i loved died. and i keep getting the image that i’ll turn hysterical. i dont know. but i know im really not very good at losing ppl. and yet, we cant keep worrying abt tmr when there’s so many things we can achieve by focusing on the present.
i keep wondering what ppl will say abt me when they know ive died. its a question ive had for a long long time. and i often wish after i died, my soul will be able to hear what ppl had to say abt my existence on earth. maybe our souls do hear what others say, maybe they dont. who knows…. but one thing is for sure, everyday, we are closer to dying, and everyday someone is achieving something. so lets not complain abt what we dont have, and instead work towards what we could have if we aim to achieve it…
To my childhood friend’s father’s sister:
thank you for the memories you have created. for your sincerity and genuineness, i know you will be badly missed by those who love you. rest in peace.
will be heading down to the cemetery tmr, for the first burial service in my life.
as time passes and older generation around me get older, there will be more deaths to come. i hope i can handle the deaths instead of crumble……..