Much has been written about death — that it leaves a gaping hole, that a part of us is taken away into the pit with the dead body’s casket, that it’s inescapable, that it is something we all have to contend with. Despite the endless generalizations we tell ourselves in order to help dull the pain, the feeling of grief that goes with death remains one of the most excruciating emotions a human being will have to experience in his brief stint living. It’s hard to comprehend how an emotion that does not play any role in helping the human species succeed in the evolutionary sense linger and continue to cause us discomfort for a period.
My grandmother passed away (how I detest this cliche but it cannot be helped) more than a month ago. I was meaning to write something about her, probably shower her memories with platitudes, but I know she will never read this as she has already died, and granting spirits (if they exist) can read she would not be able to comprehend this post as this is in English. She could neither read nor write, except I think her name.
My father referred to her as a sinless woman. Indeed, he loves her so much. Was he exaggerating? I have reasons to take his position, not that I know readers will disagree with his statement. My grandmother remained uncorrupted until her dying days. What bothered her were things too fundamental most of do not think are worth bothering ourselves about — the need for food, the security of a roof above her head, and to be in the company of her children and grandchildren. She never considered existential issues that for the vainest of us constitute the main questions we ask ourselves whenever our death or a loved one’s looms at the doorstep.
Yes, she might have feared death as it is wired in all of us the moment we become aware we are alive, but her fear was not whether the afterlife exists as I know she was certain it does. It was her daughter who took care of her until her last breath and her young grandson (my aunt’s only child) not being able to deal with it when she is gone that caused her to wail in her deathbed.
I got nothing novel to say about death. No one can. We all have said or written everything that can be said or written about it that attempts at coming up with an original generalization can only mean one is either stupid or trying to be funny. Obviously, the humor is dry and bound to be missed.
Our experience with death is particular. For a moment, the grief enables the of vainest of us to think the whole universe revolves around him and the entire weight of the cosmos is held on that singular pin whose emery is his heart.
I am one of those vain individuals.
I miss my grandmother. I really do. But I do not want to execrate her memories by my platitudinous writing which no matter how hard I try not to will sound shallow and insincere.