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Death has always been fascinating to me.
But not always in a good way. I even mustered the courage I had to write this article.
Avoiding “death talks” is my way of ignoring its inevitability, as if not letting the word escape my lips helped me to magically avoid losing loved ones or thinking of death as real, not something that is romanticized in movies.
I rarely cry in movies when a lovely character dies a tragic death. My friend once said I was “void of emotions” and laughed because I was the only one at the movies who did not bawl when Jackson Maine died in “A Star is Born” or Jack Dawson froze to death in “Titanic.” It’s not really because I was not sad over their deaths, but because I forced myself to toughen up while growing up to deal with the many deaths I had to experience.
My two grandmothers died. My two grandpas died. My aunt and uncle died. My friend at school died at a young age. My favorite priest died due to an accident when I was a young teenager. And I watched my other grandpa (mom’s uncle) whom we adore lose his two girls and wife because of lethal diseases and his son because of a hit-and-run.
But every time, as sad and sorrowful as I was, I kept repeating, “thank God my small family and my love are alive.”
Not because I did not care about the people who passed away, but because I needed something to pull me to my feet. I loved them. I loved them dearly. And the thought of not seeing them again almost broke me.
After a while, I noticed that ignoring death is just harming me. And instead of facing it by looking at it in a negative light, I had to change my perspective. I mean I believe in God and the afterlife for crying out loud! What was I thinking seeing death as this morbid thing?
After someone dies, we miss them. We miss them so much, but all we have to do is pray and know that they’re in a much better place, perhaps even right next to us and taking care of us.
I usually did these three things whenever I felt overcome by sadness and grief:
>> I let myself grieve for a long while and came to terms with the fact that we don’t just move on from the death of a loved one, but with time, we’ll learn how to deal with their absence better and better.
>> I wrote messages to the ones I lost, and after a while, when I saw myself getting better, I noticed how my messages had shifted from sadness to peace.
>> I shared my thoughts and feelings with someone who was experiencing the same thing over the death of that person.
And although my greatest fear—losing my loved ones—did not disappear, it became easier to deal with. It became bearable.
Here are seven quotes on death that shook me to the core when I was feeling vulnerable and weak:
“It is I who mediates the elements, bringing each into agreement…I make what is moist dry again, and what is dry I make moist. I make what is hard soft again, and harden that which is soft. As I am the end, so my lover is the beginning. I encompass the whole work of creation, and all knowledge is hidden in me…Who will dare to separate me from my love? No one, for our love is as strong as death.” ~ Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
“That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.” ~ Fahrenheit 451
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.” ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” ~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.” ~ Song of Myself
“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” ~ Love in the Time of Cholera
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Tuesdays with Morrie
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