Saturday, August 10, 2013

Death and Guilt

One of my aunts passed away last night. She died in her sleep after a peaceful day of smiles and conversation with one of her daughters. Because of a difference in our beliefs, I don't know how peacefully her eternal life will be, but I know that, like in my brother's case, there are some people left behind who won't be peaceful.

 There is a saying my mother had about deaths in a family bringing out either the best or worst in the survivors. From my brother's death (and now my aunt) I am seeing both.

My family knows that, after I die, I wish to have no funeral, no floral arrangements and no formal memorials. I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered into the wind - it doesn't matter where, just someplace pretty and peaceful. I don't even really care too much if that is done. I am a believer in showing love to the living.

I have noticed that the more mournful someone is at a funeral, the more they seem to be mourning themselves and their actions than they are the loss of the loved one. It's always the person who was most disrespectful and disregarding who sobs the loudest, drops the biggest tears. It's the woman who caused the deepest pain who plays the best widow; the children who weren't there day to day who fight for the most control. The grief we see is so often not from loss but from guilt.

It's only the living who need our love and compassion and care.

The best way to memorialize someone is to love them while they live. Once they are gone, your tears mean nothing. You can't apologize to the dead, you can't do the right thing to them, for them, with them. If you don't love someone right in their lifetime, your grief at their death is only a show of selfishness. Everything you do at a funeral is only for the witnesses who know your motives because, to the dead, your actions are like something that never existed.

And now I am done talking about death and dying, at least for a while.


A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1