The Dreary

Odd time to think about Death


I’m afraid of death.

I’m not scared of encountering it, letting it seep into my bones and allowing myself to wither away – slowly, gradually or maybe forgotten the next day.

I’m afraid of what it brings. I cower in fear at the steady, deadly, invisible mist that dances atop bodies and wipes off smiles and glee. Just. like. that. Snap your fingers.

I don’t go to funerals, I recoil at the thought of seeing corpses laden in fresh white cotton sheets being taken away. Something in the faces of those who had just seen death take someone out of their midst scares me. Frightens me.

I was 12. The ominous sound of my mother crying in the living room woke me up from my blissful slumber.

My grandfather was dead.

I wrapped my bony arms around my mother’s rocking frame and tried to say something but what could I say? Everything is going to be okay? Because nothing was okay and It sure as hell would never be the same. I never said anything because I was afraid I could never find the right words, instead, I was pretty sure, a hysterical giggle would slip out as I saw my aunt, blinded by tears, topple over some woman’s feet and land in a heap on the floor.

When they took my grandfather away, we were all promised one last look at his cold withdrawn face but I didn’t go. I was 12 then and I’m 12 now. I followed the same route for the death of each of my parent’s parents, my class fellow from school, my good friend’s mother, my aunt and maybe some forgotten folks along the way.

My friends berating me over my apathetic reaction to the death of our friend’s mother was justified. While they all sat there with her, maybe even hold her hand, as they tried to console her; I was busy locked away in my room, running the tip of my tongue over my chapped lips, thinking of calling her to express my condolences. Or not. I had no words and my biggest fear was what if she picked up my call and I had to talk to her? Would she hear this: Uhh…So…I heard…and I’m so-s0-sorry….Um.

Probably. But I was sorry, I was. Every single time. Even when she messaged me to accuse me of being the world’s biggest witch of never calling or meeting her.

But how can I tell her? I was scared shitless. I floundered and gasped for words but my mouth, in all its dryness, would never form them. I can never be one of those who know how to comfort someone, with their mouth full of words that I can never quite get how to steal.

But I am sorry. I want nothing more to touch things that won’t break and coo soothing words in your ear. Without stuttering, without fumbling. Without fail.

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24 thoughts on “Odd time to think about Death

  1. I think I would be the same way too. I mean I have never seen anybody die infront of me and I have never been to a funeral. So I totally understand where you are coming from lol.

  2. I have similar reactions to funerals.
    I do not know what to say to friends, relatives, or colleagues who just lost a loved one amongst them.
    I can’t help but think that I would want to be left alone … but I don’t know… maybe when a time like that comes I will understand …

  3. This is so strong, and so touching. I felt the words hitting my soul.
    Death is something, that will come sooner or later. One thing that’s for sure…

    I am not afraid of death, but I fear facing my creator. I would be shattered to even imagine what my friends might have to go through. Their tears, their emotions.

    Pure emotion follows someone’s death. An uncontrollable rush of emotions…(http://iamzeeshan.blogspot.com/2011/10/gig-called-death_03.html)

    I am sorry for all the losses, you had to bear. I can understand, and imagine what you must have gone through. I am out of words, really.
    Magnificently written.

    -Peace

  4. The meaning of Death (in Arabic and at times in languages mainly in Asia and Middle East) means ‘transition’. From one place to another, from one dimension to another. From one adventure to another.

    Fear not, as adventures can be exciting – those who have gone on this adventure never looked back and have never come back – so there must be something better out there for why they have all gone but never returned…….it’s an adventure.

  5. that is “exactly” me … I too cannot console someone .. even though inside I feel so much sorrow … but no matter how much I want to or how much I try .. my tongue just doesnt obey me at that time at all

    so yes you are not alone

  6. Death is a part of living. I stood beside my mother, at her deathbed, and witnessed her passing. My mother faded so peacefully, that I have never really looked at death like the enemy since. I think death in this life, is re-birth in another. The deceased are free from the confines of living, while it is those of us left behind that mourn. I don’t fear death. But I do try to treasure life. Your piece was very profound.

  7. Personally, I feel it is not that we fear death, it is just that we fear the unknown. If we knew what happened to us after we died, we would be in a much better situation. Same is the case with people who witness death, it is this void that scares us because we know nothing about it. I understand what you are talking about because i know nothing anyone says can bring someone back from the dead.

    • Absolutely right, although I’ve met people who have mastered the art to comfort people with their reassuring words in difficult times, yet I think majority flounder with their sentences at such occasions just like I do.

  8. I don’t know what to say myself, in situations such as these.

    Personally, I like to be left alone when something goes amiss. It’s not that I wouldn’t like being around people, I just probably wont be talking much aloud. But inside my mind races trying to find some rational for what just happened. But, sometimes no amount of reasoning gives you an answer.

    No measure of words can pacify someone who loses someone they love. I don’t think my added two cents of wisdom can help a friend mourn his loss better. I can’t feel their pain, so I don’t think I can say I know what your are going through.So I prefer being quiet.

    It’s during funerals, I realized how uncomfortable I get trying to comfort my friends.
    But, it comes naturally to some people. To say the right things, to hug at the right moment.

    • You just found yourself someone who shares the same condition.
      It’s surprising to see there are a lot of people like myself who don’t know what to do in this situation. Makes you feel not very alone.
      Thank you for commenting!

  9. Does anyone ever know what to say to someone who has experienced a loss? I certainly don’t. But isn’t it the act of engaging the bereaved in conversation, making a connection, getting them to talk (if they want to) and for you to listen, that is important. Of course all the wrong words will come out – you’re human, you make mistakes, just try not to make the mistake of leaving a mourner feeling isolated. In the end, death is like any loss, people want to talk about, get it out of their system.

    Then again, what do I know? I’m fumbling about in life just like anyone else. There ain’t no manual.

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