June 2, 2009

On Death..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 11:21 pm

(I wrote this a couple of months ago.  I made some modifications and added some more today)

In the film The Hours, Virginia Woolf says “Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more”.

I believe it is one of the greatest blessings of life that we go about our lives as if there was no death. We forget about it temporarily until we are struck by it… suddenly. Whether personally, in our closest circles, or through what colleagues, friends, relatives and newspapers tell us.

Yet, one cannot be totally distant from death, no matter how much you want to shut your eyes to the fact that we all die. A few days ago, I heard that someone I know had lost his daughter. As far as I remember, she could not have been more than a year or two old.. this morning on the internet, I read that a man killed his 5 children – shot them with a rifle before killing himself. They were aged 7-16. We hear endless accounts of war and conflict, but these are not always the ones that affect us.. it’s the personal stories that affect us.. the people we have talked to, laughed with, touched and held… the young ones mostly. Other people you expect to die very soon and they live on and on for months and years defying all predictions and propositions.

We do not ignore death.. we fail to interpret it because there is no way you can interpret it. It is a mystery. In my opinion, it always will be. Some cultures celebrate death by celebrating life.. mourners wear black, or white, or colourful clothes even, to show their sympathy.. people die through natural causes, or accidents, or are killed, or kill themselves.. it’s always a mystery.. how? when? or why? – always why.. are questions we cannot, must not ask, because no matter how much we try to understand, we won’t really be able to comprehend the truth behind it. All we are left with is acceptance.

If you remember the famous saying.. live for today as if there were no tomorrow and live for tomorrow as if today were the last day. That’s how we should live our lives.. enjoy it and work hard for it and do all the material things that take up our time and energy, but always keep in mind that we all die.  We will all die and there is no escape even if you’re in the highest tower and have taken all your precautions.

I have thought about death a lot.  I think about it often.  In an attempt to understand it, or make some sense out of it.  I have been blessed that my immediate family is still with me.. that I have not truly ‘experienced death’ or the loss of loved ones as much as other people.  and yet I have lost people close to me.  Death, however, does not bother me.  I consider it a step to another life..  a step we all must pass through.  I feel content, (not happy, but calm and serene) when someone passes on.. it is a stage like all other stages.. birth, adolescence, maturity, old age, death, afterlife.  I feel it is a moment of rest before an eternal life free of worries.

We feel pain and agony at the loss of our dear ones.  We miss them dearly, but I always think upon them with a smile.  Small things remind me of those who have passed on.. a wandering cloud in the sky, a flower, a certain scent, a word someone says, a piece of music.. I thank God for having known them, and I know I am a better person because they have touched my life in one way or another.

I write this in memory of a friend who passed away this time last year, in memory of my great uncle whose birthday was yesterday, my other great uncle, Tante Mirette, Bonne Maman, for Hoda and Yehia, and for Azza.  May God bless them and rest their souls and rest the souls of all our loved ones.   

This poem by John Donne (16th century English poet) is one of my favourite poems by him.  What I like about it the most is that in the end death will be conquered – and this in itself always brings a smile to my face when I think about it. For, as Dylan Thomas says, death shall have no dominion.


DEATH, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.

From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be,

Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;

And soonest our best men with thee do go–

Rest of their bones and souls’ delivery!

Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you ya Amira

    Comment by fatma — June 3, 2009 @ 5:09 pm |Reply

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