Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Death Day

I'm not exactly sure what a Yartzite is.  I'm sure I could look it up quickly on wikipedia.  But so could you.  Stop being lazy.

For now I'm going to assume that it is the Jewish name for the yearly remembrance of the day someone you cared for died.  Yesterday was my grandmother.  Who's name, to me at least, was mamu  (pronounced "ma-moo").  And my name to her was "the little one."  Even when I finally grew taller than her (which was quickly.  She was quite short.)

Today was a friends birthday.  It struck me as quite appropriate, though novel to me, that a religion would have the equivalent of a birthday, but for death.  After all, They are, for all people, two of the most important days of anyone's life.

After my closest friend killed themselves, in addition to the grief, was an experience that made me unafraid of death, and quite certain that the core of who a person was kept existing after their body stopped working.  It was just a feeling, a feeling that, though I could no longer hear him as clearly, nothing about him had really changed.  He hadn't stopped existing.  I felt him.  It was the same kind of non-verbal, deeply intimate connection we had always had.

So it makes sense to me, to celebrate someone who you deeply love, yearly, even after they die.  It also makes sense that the celebration is a little different, because your connection to people after they die is different than before.  But I think they like having people who love them gather and laugh and think of them with love, and it's a good excuse to gather together with other friends and enjoy each other's company and maybe eat cake or something.  At the very least, death should remind us to live.

I make no guarantees about an afterlife   Who knows how the world works for sure?  How could you ever be certain of anything besides exactly what's in front of you right now.  But for myself, I'm not afraid of death, and, though I miss those that die, I don't grieve for them ceasing to exist, but for myself, and for the others who will miss them.

Death is harder on the living.  I don't want to die, but when I do, at least I won't have to live with it.

In either case, fill your life with love and things that matter deeply to you.  When it's your turn to die, how do you want to feel about your life?  Don't wait till you're old to think about that.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful sentiment. I can't imagine what you must have felt, losing your closest friend. But I'm glad you still feel his presence. I feel a strong connection with my grandpa - maybe even stronger than I felt when he was alive.