Of Death

Two years ago, I wrote this piece on the subject of death....

I have just started reading Belva Plain’s Random Winds. The book started with a tragedy in an Adirondack’s village that cost the lives of the country doctor’s three children and many others. The subject of death really touches me, especially that this 8th of the month will be my father’s second death anniversary. It is still two years but it seems like ages. I miss him. I have pictures of him, but I prefer painting him in my mind. Sometimes, his memory pains me; but mostly, it makes me smile. But how I wish he is still here! We could have done so much more…

Well, last Wednesday, my co-faculty died of stroke at age 63. When the news came to me, I was really shocked. He had just celebrated his birthday days before and he had had great energy. It is really sad and the thought of seeing his empty table in the college office makes me even sadder. The College is still grieving for him.

And days before too, the country, and the world, was confronted with the most heinous election-related crime – the Maguindanao massacre. According to the news, a convoy of a local election candidate was abducted along a highway and brought to a desolate forested area where they were shot to death. The women were allegedly raped before being killed. So far, 57 bodies were recovered and still many others were not yet found. The victims ranged from political supporters to government employees to media men and to innocent people who happened to pass by the convoy. It is a sad, sad happening.

Those are the few faces of death. From the thousands or millions of death that happen everyday, how many are willed? How many are part of nature’s course? They say death is a way of returning back to God what he has lent to human. So why grieve? And so how
must life be treated then? Like a toy car that must be given back to the owner when due? But kids even cry for the toys.

Does our way of understanding death reflect how we value our lives? For others, death is an easy thing, that taking a human life is no harder than cracking a coconut shell, out pours the liquid of its life, out came the tenderness of its existence. On the other hand, others cling even to the finest thread of hope, to the wisdom of science, and to the mercy of money, just to add few years to their lives.

Well, I don’t believe in life after death nor I put so much faith in heavenly beings. But for me, death is the last phase of man’s destiny. We die like all the others before us and after us. We all die, young or old, poor or rich, miserable or fulfilled. We grieve when loved one dies because parting has never been the happiest thing, though it may open up to happier things. And when we die, we become part of the earth that has nourished us when we were still alive. We become dust, like all the thousand dusts in the universe. And when all the others have become dusts themselves, we become forgotten. Our faces which others have dearly loved will gradually vanish, like artwork on the sand slowly washed by raindrops. The world may not remember us anymore, yet what we left behind will stay forever.

So make every day a reason to celebrate life. To see the sunrise in your beloved’s eyes… Or hear the thunder on merciless evenings… Or smell the guavas in the summer afternoons… These, and all the other life’s little daily dramas, are reason enough. And death? Don’t really hate it, just accept its painful existence.... And life? Love it! And let yourself be the life for others.

Image courtesy of Wallpapers on Web. 


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