“I’m a eulogist.” – Brod Pete
There’s something about death that makes me wiser, more articulate, and more profound. I like literature about death. I have written a lot about death and two of my blog posts here have been read in funeral service. I’m a crying lady. I cry in funerals even if the person who died is not related to me. You can throw insults to me and I will try not to drop a tear. But when I see someone grieving for the loss of loved one, I cannot help but be affected and infected with someone’s watery eyes. Perhaps, when you experience almost facing death or when you witness someone’s death, death is no longer abstract, something far from you. It is when you realize death is a possibility.
At times, I find death fascinating and intriguing. There is much to talk about death including endless debate on life after death, immortality and souls, ghosts and angels. Will I go to heaven? Who will remember me and what will they remember?
This year, two of my college professors died of cancer. I am not an exceptional student who will never forget teachers for praising my ability or giving me high grades. But I can honestly say that they are the few good ones. Today I’m thinking that the only remembrance I have are the grades they marked in my transcript of records. They may not be around but they will forever haunt me in my diploma. It’s funny how figures outlived human life. That’s how human life works. When we are alive, we are objects, tangible. We are matter, consuming space and time. We matter in commerce and trade. But when we die, we are nothing more but ideas, figures, and stories. My teacher could hold a pen that could fail or pass a student. I could hear her react when I said something. But now the human figure is only a numeric figure in my transcript of records.
I wish we can keep people alive in our memories. Two days ago, I saw a little girl running around the church. I remembered her grandmother who died a month ago. I remembered how well she sang in church. I wish you can bring someone’s life back by remembering. Even if you remember a person every day and every night, recall every minute detail about her, you can never have a perfect memory of her. And you know that even in your thoughts, you can never immortalize someone. What you have are only fragments.
Once in a while, it’s healthy to think about death. Because when you know death, that’s when you know the value of life. If we live every day not thinking about death, we live like machines. Our actions largely depend on consequence. Our goals are long-term. We always think life as an infinite spectrum rather than life in its millisecond.
To people who have lost a loved one, we are blessed to have such wisdom on life and pain. We, who have experienced tragedy, have smaller problems than those who have not. When I already lost a loved one and saw people dying, I just could not grieve over ambitions, hate, and disgust. They are just so petty when compared to death.
To everyone, never say “Magpapakamatay na lang ako” (I want to kill myself). I used to say this line in vain and in jokes. But when you see cancer patients fighting for life, it is such a shame. We have to be grateful of our existence. Life may be unfair and people may be harsh to you but you just have to survive. The little suffering you get makes your existence. Life is progressing, not regressing. You have to walk with its speed. Like the brightness of the sun, we are blinded by the beauty of life. Take time to think that death is a possibility and maybe life can be beautiful.
Happy End of the World!