Over the last ten years, I have seen more deaths than most people my age. Barring my husband who went through one before we met due to which his count is more than mine. Probably why we ended up together. But that’s a different story for another time.
When I first saw someone die, I saw people around them clamor for their belongings in a way that disgusted me. I ranted about it in my head and decided that I hadn’t seen such cheap people in my life before. Little did I know that the most common weed I had suddenly stumbled on was something that grew in everyone’s backyard.
If anything, my head wraps itself around loss with a feeling of profound humility.
That this is all it amounts to.
I remember the famous lines from the book called ‘Doctors’.
“What then does death take away?
Hard nosed scientists would call it electric pulses. religious men might say a body spirit but I am a humanist and what I saw today I took to be the absence of his soul”
I have struggled with the polar extremes of attachment and detachment all my life. Death challenged it on a completely different plane. I was very preoccupied with what the dead person might have wanted to do with what they left behind. I felt this compelling need to do their bidding. The idea of right and wrong danced in front of my already disturbed mind that was waiting to pounce on something to channelize the irrational anger I felt over loss however secondary it was to me.
However after a lot of will power, and absolutely no choice, I learnt to let go. I still remember how liberating it felt.
To understand that the material losses did not matter to the dead person.
To realize that it was my sadness over the loss that permeated into such feelings due to the sheer magnitude of its helplessness.
Now, I see the weed at a larger scale on TV. I recognize it so well. But what I am so relieved at is how I have learnt to disregard this preoccupation with it. And realize that whoever gets Poes Garden only gets walls, a garden and some money. The energy that flowed in its windows has left for greener pastures. I do not say this with even an iota of cynicism. Neither am I a saint who thinks money isn’t necessary in life. I say this as someone who has learnt to prioritize angst. You need a lot of practice to assort your feelings into boxes they sometimes do not fit into. So I say this with the quiet confidence of someone who has learnt some kind of lesson from events I am an unwilling witness to.
So what then does death take away? Nothing actually.
Their energy is all around us. It is up to us to absorb what we want. However the ability to process loss into something one can learn from is a privilege I have come to value.