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Life Goes On

A Funeral
DURING work at the University Hospital mid last week, I had caught a sight of the mortuary. So I took a moment to look and ponder. At the lobby, stood a lady concealed in an over-sized dark glasses, with arms folded across her chest solemnly. Another group of people had just arrived, making their way pass the glass door to the reception area hurriedly. I hadn't known their stories, but I knew it had something to do with death, post-mortem and grief. Their sorrow may not have been mine, but my heart went out to them. After saying a silent prayer for the living, I turned around and exited, not knowing that a couple of days later I would be there myself.

Just less than a year ago, a lady friend of mine, had lost her son due to a hospital negligence. At 51, she had already buried her parents, and a 29-year-old son. Burying anyone is not easy, but to bury one's own child? That is something else. But I guess, she was pulling it together, with the support of her children, and especially her dear husband, whom she had just lost on Saturday night. So in 10 months, while the cut of having to loose her eldest child was still raw, she lost her husband of more than two decades to a sudden heart problem. A man who had been her pillar of strength in bad times and an understanding and loving partner at all times. So when I went to see her at the mortuary on Sunday morning, I had no words for her. All I did was hug and look at her. No matter how many times you bury someone, it never comes easy - perhaps it just gets harder with each loss.

Each loss means one less person to love you unconditionally, or for you to shower unconditional love to. I lost my grandmother almost two years ago, but the reality of it still tugs at me. The sudden and permanent absence of a person who's been there all your life is hard to swallow, and I think it never goes away. As life goes on, and as you see more important people fade away from your life, it just doesn't get better. Makes you feel somewhat lonely and fragile when times are bad. But I suppose every death also gives a new meaning to life, and helps you see things differently. Personally, my grandma's demise matured me in some ways. It's been a humbling experience that has taught me to be more tolerable, accepting and forgiving. But then, I've always looked at every funeral in that way, and welcomed it as a time to ponder upon life's purpose, which brings me to the realization that we are all eventually the same six feet under. The living just have too many distractions that drive them into a million separate ways.

When I attended my friend's husband's funeral at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Muslim cemetery, I noticed Tan Sri(s) and Datin(s) of high places lay among the people in the hood. Their tombs bore the same difference with those of the ordinary people, below and above ground. My friend's late son's tomb was just two vertical lots away from where her husband's coffin lay, and it was heart-wrenching to see the new widow move from her child's tomb to witness her husband's burial. I couldn't imagine what it must have been for her at the moment.

View Master
Yet the real process of dealing with the death of a loved one only begins when you've cast the last lump of soil onto the burial ground and head home. A burial gives closure, but by the end of it, you are left on your own to find a personal closure.  It's a long, arduous process, that'd have memories rotate in your mind like a 3D-slide show through a View Master projector. There may be regrets, could haves and what ifs, but healing is not easy, and there is no waltzing your way through it. Death is a mystery but life is a puzzle that can be sorted out. Someday, sooner or later, there'd be a new hope, a rainbow at the end of a tunnel.

"I'm still trying to stay strong for my kids," says my friend.
I guess that's how life brings hope.


  1. Thanks babe. Life as it is sometimes :)

  2. Lovely read. Very fitting on this being the 19th anniversary of my dad's passing. Sorry to hear about your friends loss(es). and your grandma's passing. Hugs*

  3. Hi Maine. Thanks n sorry about your dad. We move on with the hope that they are in a better place now :)

  4. My heart goes out to your friend. I can't even imagine.

  5. Was like reading a phase from Paolo Coelho...Awesome !!!


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