The only thing certain about life is death. Yet we are hit with a ferocity when it actually stares us in the face. It shakes us in a way nothing else in our lives does. My two clearest memories of seeing death up, close and personal were that of  my maternal grandmother’s (nani) when I was barely 6 years old and of my mum later when I was in my 20s. My nani’s death is so clear in my mind’s eye even though I was so young. How we were picked from school in a rush to make a long journey by road to her home, how mum was crying copiously while dad tried to make arrangements and then the actual reaching there and seeing her on a large ice slab. I remember being shocked by that sight and thinking that she must be so cold. My younger brother had started crying at the very sight. Kids are never prepared for such events. It is difficult to explain death to kids and hence most of us skirt around that topic. And then the rituals that follow are even more confusing. So many questions to ask and no one is interested to answer them.

death is sobering

And then the even worse memory was that of my mother’s death. It will be 18 years in a few months and yet I close my eyes and see the events of a few days preceding her death crystal clear. How I rushed back from the US, how I was taken straight to the hospital where she was hanging on to life, how she went into coma that very evening and then passed away 4 days later as we tried to make sense of her imminent untimely demise. There was a part of me that was left bereft forever that day. I think in a way that day changed my life in ways indescribable.

Why am I talking about this morbid topic? Because this year has been very cruel. We lost a friend to brain cancer. A friend lost her husband. A few friends lost their parents. Another friend lost their pet. And today an acquaintance lost their young son. It was tough to go to their home this morning. While I didn’t say a word, the sea of mourning, remorse and silent tears spoke volumes of the grief everyone present was experiencing. From one parent to another parent, I can’t imagine a bigger loss that a parent has to endure. In that one moment, every other thing that you’ve done or will do becomes inconsequential in comparison. All I have been praying for and wishing is that they somehow find the strength and courage to bear this unbelievable loss, and I am feeling so disturbed, so very sad.

No matter what any person does or says, the loss will never become bearable. A lot of thoughts swirl in my mind today and foremost is the reiteration that very few things in life matter more than our dear ones. Our family and friends are our lifeline. Every silly tiff, jealousy, grudge that we may hold will feel like a dwarf compared to the larger perspective that life is transitory. We really do not know what the next moment holds. And while we all have jobs to do, let us not lose perspective of this ever.

Let us hug our parents, siblings, spouses, kids and friends just for what they mean to us. And every time we have a fight, find a way to make up because life is short and you never know.

As I shed tears for all those we lost this year, I also pray that our families stay safe.

Featured pic courtesy: By FocusStocker on Shutterstock

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11 Thoughts on “Why Death is Sobering

  1. Yes, indeed. When someone we knew passes away, all the sourness that existed, seems a miniscule.

    Life really is too short. I lost a loved one to cancer who was just about to be a teenager. Its been more than 3 years but I still feel that I’ll get to talk to her someday. The feeling is so overwhelming. We tend to get so lost in our busy lives & at times phone calls from parents, siblings or friends/acquaintances easy make us send them an autoreply of calling back later since we’re ‘busy’. We never know how many tears we or they would shed craving to speak again after either of us is gone. Life can be so cruel.

    And like you said, it’s hard to explain to kids about death when they suddenly confront something without being told about it earlier. I too bear scary memories of mom crying inconsolably when her father passed away. I was just 4 then & an otherwise strong person that she came across as then, hell broke loose for me when I couldn’t figure out or understand why she had to cry so much. Neither could I understand her grief that being abroad we couldn’t attend his funeral in short notice. Getting tickets in such emergencies, too, was almost impossible then. I was almost depressed to see her so broken & years later, I wondered how she could even cook & feed me then.

    I feel telling kids about death is important. It can teach them a lot about being considerate & loving towards people because, who knows they may never live to fight with them again.

    I so feel for you seeing your dear ones leave you this year. Hugs, Rachna.

  2. I am so so sorry you’ve gone through this, Rachna. Death especially when it’s unexpected is always a shock. I can’t imagine what the parents must be feeling. ?

    Big hugs to you and as always, call when you feel like talking.

  3. Madan Chavan on November 29, 2018 at 11:58 pm said:

    Rachna ji,
    We are all have come with rented human body which we knowingly ignore our mortality. In olden days there was practice of folding their hands in salutation to supreme god soon after waking up from sleep ,It was meant to convey thanks to GOD for keeping alive on that morning.
    Message apart, I am with you for your feeling . Best wishes , may God keep you healthy and free of fear.

  4. Life is so short. I agree on the rituals which nobody is willing to explain and I’ve seen the priest at home making the kill money wise on aggrieved families, thinking they are a milch cow. It’s always sad to see someone losing a child, better half or parents. I lost my Dad, a close friend and recently an aunty, my friend’s mother. Such death doesn’t prepare us, I know!

  5. Hugs, Rachna. Death is something which scares me. I cannot imagine the pain your friends must be going through. I just cannot. I hope they find something to hold on to.

  6. You have had so much to deal with and from a young age to lose your mum must have been hard. There is no easy death but I think to grow old and see your children and grandchildren must be wonderful. I lost my father when I’d just had my youngest child and to know that he would never know my children was heartbreaking for me. The thing is, he wasn’t in pain anymore so I take comfort from that. Take care, #tweensteensbeyond

  7. You’re right we hardly ever talk about death and even if we do we end up laughing about it. However, I have to admit it scares me. Losing a loved one is the worse kind of nightmare – the finality of it, the fact that that person will never ever come back – that’s heartbreaking. I am so so sorry about all that you have had to deal with.

  8. So sorry to read that you’ve had a difficult time Rachna. This is such a poignant post and it really does make us want to wrap all of our loved ones up and keep them close and safe. Such a difficult time of the year too. We were exposed to grief at quite a young age and we want to protect our own children don’t we. Sending love to you and thanks for being a lovely part of our #teenstweensbeyond community x

  9. This is so true Rachna, death is an inevitability yet is the one aspect of life that we are least equipped to cope with. I am so sorry to hear about the losses that you have experienced. We have also had a family bereavement this year and are still coping with the fall-out. Thank you for sharing such a moving post with us at #TweensTeensBeyond and best wishes to you for the New Year.

  10. Despite our preparation for death and its inevitability it is never quite enough. Personally I would prefer like everyone that it is painless and graceful but of course it rarely is. The deaths I have witnessed have been brutal and unfair but eventually there is some peace and the solidarity offered by everyone concerned in those emotional times makes it easier to bear. I am so sorry to hear your sad stories Rachna and wish you and your family a wonderful New Year. #TweensTeensBeyond

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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