This is a slice from my old blog that I’ll be posting to honor Throwback Thursday. Originally posted on 11.7.11
Imagine if you had a house where you can only open a window if the doors are closed – and vice versa. Take a second to ponder about this. Really think on how it would make you feel. Personally, I’d be irked and wondered why it has to be like that. How does it make you feel? Mad? Sad? Frustrated? Lost? Whatever the feeling may be, it’s normal to feel this way.
I bet you’re probably thinking that this idea is odd. Are you intrigued yet, though? Well, I don’t recall where I got this from, but supposedly the way you react to this scenario is how you feel when those that are (somewhat) close to you die. For me, it’s pretty “dead” on. Since it’s a touchy subject, I’m going to add in some humor for comic relief.
Anyways, yesterday, Nov. 6, would’ve been my late grandma’s 105th birthday. Although it has been over 15 years, I can’t help but remember this date. It’s like the V for Vendetta saying: Remember, remember, the 5th of November…plus 1. I must admit that Nanang (naw-nawng, Ilocano for grandma), as everyone would call her, was the closest female to me that has passed away. I know others who remember the birthdates of those who died – celebrities (2Pac: 6.16.71) and other notable persons throughout history (Jesus: 12.25.00), for example.
I can’t help but think that everyone has lost someone at some point. In recent months, friends of mine lost their loved ones. As we all know, death is such a Debbie Downer. If life is a party, death is the ultimate party crasher. But at the same time, death brings along friends and family. A few months ago, a good friend invited me to her grandpa’s funeral since I’ve interacted with him on several occasions. It was the last funeral I went to. While I was in the church, all I could think was that, in most cases, death is never dealt with alone. There are alwaze people to help cope with the unfortunate incident of untimely death. Seriously, when is it ever timely?
When people die, it’s cliché to say that we should celebrate a person’s life instead of focusing on death. But, there’s no other way it should be, considering this person is a decent human being. Speaking of, Nanang was the oldest in my entire extended family. She was very active in her 80’s, walking around without a cane or wheelchair. In that period, I recall plenty of family gatherings…maybe because everyone knew her time was coming? Eventually, she suffered a stroke, in which her leg was amputated. She then received care at a convalescent home where she died a few months later from, I like to think, boredom.
When Nanang died, I was a tweenager and I recall thinking I was cool that I was a pallbearer. But don’t get me wrong, I was sad, but I did not cry. I do recall many of my family members crying, but no one more so than my mom (the youngest of 10 siblings), who let out skin-shivering wails. For me, seeing my mom in such a vulnerable state, being the strong woman that she is, was what I thought is the worst thing about death. Death can bring a grown man to tears. As Scarface the rapper once said, “I never seen a man cry, ‘til I seen a man die.”
To this day, I have never cried when someone died. I did not cry when my journalism professor, Mr. William Johnson, died. Mr. J was like the father I never had and still I did not shed a tear, nor was I holding any back. I do recall reminiscing and sharing memories with mutual friends and supporting his widow while at their house, where he’d host annual holiday parties. He died from a cancer relapse, in which many knew about. What’s weird is I was in denial about his death, up until the time I stepped in his house for the reception only to find out from others he really checked out. Mr. J’s birthday is Nov. 9 and he is the closest male to me to have died.
There’s no reason to be afraid of death. It will happen. In the meantime, live life to the fullest, because everybody dies, but not everybody lives. Cherish every moment and treat everyone like a family member you like and/or respect. When your time comes, just know people will celebrate your life, some will shed tears, and some may even pour some alcohol out for you. Lastly, before you RIP, LIP (Live in Peace).