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I see how affected some of my friends are when they come face to face with death, and I ask myself: Am I lucky that, early in my life, I have experienced several deaths of very close loved ones that I now have a matter-of-fact acceptance of death? Or am I doomed because I’m unmoved when it comes to loss?
I rarely am saddened by news of death these days. Instead, I’m often more shocked, but only because of the unexpectedness or the suddenness of death. If it’s expected, like when my grandmother died of old age, I even see it as a happy occasion, for at last she was at rest (increasingly in her last years, she had trouble moving about, her memory was increasingly slipping and she had started addressing people who had been long gone). When my dad died, I actually felt happy for him because he himself told us how ready he was to meet his Creator. I was sad more for my mom; it’s a good thing that she showed us how resilient she was in the days after, so that I stopped worrying about her.
Some might be shocked at my unfazed reaction in the face of death, especially of someone who is not really close to me. They may even view this as callousness on my part, and perhaps to a degree they may be right. But what may be callous to some is merely matter-of-fact to me. And if one would go all meta-physical about it, death is but a part of life. Face it, that is the reality of death.
I realize that I am neither lucky nor doomed. We cope in different ways, and they are all valid so long as it works for you and that you are not hurting yourself and others in the process. Sadness, anger, numbness or even indifference—all are but ways of coping with the reality of death.
So don’t expect me to go all weepy at your funeral because I won’t. Besides, you’re dead already.