Thursday, January 02, 2014

Why isn't death celebrated?

That's the question I had this morning. Last month, one of the relatives in the area passed away. He was 91 years old and we used to call him Dada. Last I had seen him was just two days before he left us. When I saw him, he was getting out of the car and making his way inside the home. We were all gathered for a weekend dinner party.

As usual I payed my regards to him and asked him if he needed a hand/support as he was walking inside. To this Dada smiled back and refused to accept my support saying he was good. The cane was good enough for him. Walking upright, he slowly made his way inside, climbing stairs on his own and removing his shoes on his own. His vision had been compromised because of macular degeneration since quite a few years, but that didn't stop him from going on his 5-mile daily walks. Even with a frail body, he was doing his daily regular yoga and walking. Eventually the walking had become indoors-only and that kind of irritated him. I could totally imagine how he felt with that. My point is, despite all the physical limitations and body giving up on daily basis, he continued to live a regular, healthy life until the last day of his life. His death made me sad for more than two weeks and I felt depressed. I didn't want to experience that time. I didn't want to live those moments. I wanted time to move on as fast as it does when we are celebrating, when we are happy. What I noticed was how I was feeling during all those days, how his immediate family and loved ones were feeling during this time..

I ask myself today, why is it that we don't feel happy for the departed? Why don't we celebrate death like we celebrate birth? For the departed, death is a better situation. Any next situation is better than the one before. And when that's the case, why don't we feel glad that they went to a better world? That they are free of all the miseries. Is that because we can only think of our happiness? That them not being part of our lives is completely going to change our lives. We will miss them, if at all we are close to them. The closer you are the more hurt and sad you feel. If so, isn't that mighty selfish of us to feel so?

Why do we wear white and black colors when someone dies? But at happy occasions we dress up in colorful clothes. Why isn't there dancing? Why there are no parties? Why aren't there multiple delicious meals served after a death? Yes, Indian culture does have all the rituals where the departed's favorite foods are made and served to family/friends and those close by. But the event is not really celebrated like a happy occasion. I wish we celebrated successful lives. Lives of people who lived a good healthy life and let their lives be a role model for rest of us to remain behind. I wish people made good wishes and sent them off with lots of love and happiness on their next adventure.. wherever that might be, instead of just saying "rest in peace." I wish deaths are celebrated like births too.

PS. I exclude unexpected deaths like suicide, murders, accidents, etc. here when I say about celebration.

1 comment:

Hasmukh :) said...

Agree with you to a certain extent. I don't know what should and should not be; but I do know this: I would certainly like a deeper analysis of why are we required to act the way we do.