May 13, 2003

Of funerals and family …

Thank you Tracie, Kim, Mom, Jordan and everybody else who expressed their sympathy on my grandfather passing away – I appreciate your wishes and concern. I must also mention my friends Robin and Deeno who were sweet enough to SMS (text message) me while I was on my way back from the funeral (they would have messaged me sooner but my cellular was out of range at the funeral) and told me that they were sorry that they couldn’t be there with me to lend support. I thank you all and consider myself lucky to have friends and family like you :-)

It was about two hours by bus to my mother’s village and I left early in the morning and got back only a couple of hours or so ago and actually thought that I might be done for the day since I returned with a splitting headache. However, a small nap seems to have gotten rid of the headache and I’m able to make this entry. The funeral was actually one of the most cheerful ones I’ve been to in a while. Everybody was mostly smiling and talking and catching up since some of these people had not met in ages. I don’t think even my Mom or her sisters cried even though it was their father who’d passed away. Honestly, to me that is how a funeral should be. Why should we be beating our breasts and crying when the person who’s died has just passed on? Of course, according to your faith, you might look at the situation differently but to me, this life is just a tiny precursor to the eternal life that awaits you after the day of judgement and we shouldn’t be sad for anybody who’s free of all the cares and problems of this world. But that’s just me …

The actual burial place was quite beautiful – we had to pass through paddy fields and it was beside a little pond covered in water lilies. As they laid my grandfather in his grave, there were trees around the place and there were birds chirping and flying around in the trees. I remember wondering, with so much life around, why would we mourn death? I remember seeing my grandfather’s body being lowered into the grave and seeing how limp it was and thinking that his body was really a shell, not really him since what made the body *him* had already moved on. I wondered at that moment if he might somehow be looking on at his own funeral and what he might be thinking about all of it from his new perspective. Most of all, I remember thinking how fleeting our life on this earth is and yet, how much baggage we seem to collect in that short time and how many people we piss off or get angry at in our own turn, how much we do wrong when we could have done it better, how many people we leave behind thinking something bad about us. All for what? A six by three plot of land that will eventually be used by somebody else? (Muslims don’t have permanent resting places, we don’t even put up tombstones and stuff …)

Ah well … life’s so short and yet so long as well. I guess the best any of us can do is to live it to the best of our ability so that when we leave, people will remember us fondly since that’s about the only mark we can leave on this world. But *that* might not be as easy a task as you might think …

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Tags: Personal, Real Life
Posted by Fahim at 9:00 pm   Comments (2)