Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Death Becomes Us

“Hellooooow?! Deeeath!” – Remington, “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington”

* * * * *

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think its weird you feel the way you do about death - even some people think it's not a subject for polite conversation - too morbid is the comment one frequently encounters. While most reactions to loss are variations on a theme of cathartic keening others anesthetize themselves as a means of "dealing". For some, its a conscious choice while in more extreme cases the frequency with which loss and grief encountered is such that a sense of numbness becomes necessary to hold their sanity together. Coping is as unique as the person who exercises it - non-participation in behavior expected in a mourner doesn't mean a lack of empathy or emotion or callousness. When told of my dad's death, I cried - for the first and last time. Pretending to be more emotional than I actually was out of the question since his death was a release for and from himself as well as for us. Besides, screwing my face as if to shed tears inevitably brought on comments ranging from constipation to that other, more colorful digestive process - and THAT would have been truly inappropriate in a funeral, don't you think?