Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Do You Remember?

Every day, someone dies. Several someones, in fact. A mother. A father. A sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandpa, grandma, daughter, son. A baby. A senior citizen. A new bride. A high school student. A drug dealer. They all disappear, Houdini's final trick.

It happens all the time, and yet when it happens close to us, we panic. We freak. We say, Oh my God, how could it happen to THEM? But we don't even realize that right now, at this very moment, the same thing is happening in about a hundred other places all across the country, even more across the whole planet. Our perspective is skewed by our juxtaposition to the event. But is that such a bad thing?

I recently lost my paternal grandmother. I purposely didn't share this information with most people, people at school, various extended family members, etc. because I didn't want to have them do the same thing that we all do: Oh my God, how terrible! on the surface; but secretly, Wow glad it wasn't me. I didn't want to give them that satisfaction, that little moment of instinctual gloating. It seemed so disgraceful to me, so barbaric. But then I thought about it in the context of my previous statements: they only reacted that way because they didn't think about things in a universal sense. They saw what happened to someone near them and breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't them, they didn't have to deal with it. They ignored the inevitable for one more day.

I guess my point is not quite brought across in that last paragraph, so let me make it more clear: the fact that things happen all over the globe shouldn't belittle our feelings when it happens to us. Who knows how many other grandmothers died the same day as mine, but that doesn't mean that I should push aside my feelings and avoid sharing my pain with others. Certainly, their reaction is the typical ingrained human kind, but that doesn't make it any less genuine.

I still don't talk about my grandmother, or my maternal grandfather, or my uncle, or my great-aunt, or my great-grandfather, or my dad's best friend. I don't talk about the people that I've lost, because I still feel like it's something that others don't deserve to gloat about. And I suppose I also feel guilty sharing it. But I often remember what few snapshots and smiles I had with them. And I find that that's talk enough for me.

No comments: