I am absolutely horrible at dealing with death. Having a person here one day and gone the next is something I’ll never quite get used to. It doesn’t help that I’m slightly terrified by dead bodies and act like a royal idiot every rare instance I am in a funeral home. When it comes to properly dealing with death, I am completely clueless. I cry randomly when it makes no sense, but remain dry-eyed in moments I should be in tears. I never know what to say or do or how to act. I almost prefer to be notified via text message so I can deal with things in my own way without embarrassing myself or offending anyone.
Everyone deals with death in a different way, and lately I’ve had front row tickets to all the different ways we try to process the loss of life. Some people blame themselves, even though in just about every instance, there was nothing they could have done to prevent whatever happened. Some people blame the deceased, wondering why they couldn’t have done things differently so they could still be here. Anger is a big one; we get angry at the family, at friends or coworkers, at ourselves, or at anything we perceive as not right or proper. Others just withdraw into themselves, as if hiding will make the death something that was all a bad dream.
People have a funny way of coming together in times of tragedy. Estranged family members are suddenly best of friends, hugging and crying and laughing together as they work through each day and try to heal. Sometimes the change is a long lasting one, but more often than not, everyone goes back to ignoring each other within a month or two. It’s a shame that the effects never seem to be long lasting ones, but I suppose it’s better than nothing at all.
Right now, I am dealing by avoiding as much as I possibly can. From the get-go, people have been horrendously ugly with each other, even going as far as saying certain family members did not have the right to attend a viewing. Some people seem concerned with who gets what, totally driven by money and objects while completely ignoring the fact that someone is gone from this world forever. There are plots and theories and things being said that are better suited for an episode of CSI. I simply cannot deal with it anymore.
Call me selfish if you will, but I decided to skip a memorial service earlier today. I declined to go because I did not want to deal with someone who planned to block the door and not allow certain people inside (even though it’s a public service, so it wouldn’t have worked in the end). I declined because I can’t listen to one more theory about what REALLY happened and who is REALLY responsible. I declined because I find it disgusting how certain people are behaving when we should all be honoring someone’s life and remembering them fondly in death.
I am terrible at dealing with death. But I’ve discovered that there are a lot of people who deal with it a hundred times worse than I ever have. I’ve learned that in the end, the way you deal is not important. What is important is that the memory of the one we lost is honored somehow. Differences are put aside and we all treat each other like human beings for a while. Death is a reminder of how short and fragile life is. When someone dies, we shouldn’t waste time hating each other and acting like self-absorbed strangers. That’s no way to live. If I’ve learned one thing this past week, it is that I waste too much time on negativity. I don’t want to do that anymore. And when I die, I want the people I’ve left behind to get along, not argue over who gets what or blame each other for my passing. Life is too short to be wasted on bullshit.