Friday, November 6, 2009

What I Learned in Germany - Time Wasted Mourning and What You Can Do

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got back from a week in Germany on Sunday, November 2nd, 2009. It was a crazy trip as my friend and I discovered that their father had passed away while we were out hiking.

When someone passes away, the people closest to them often go through a period of mourning. This is typical, of course, and to be expected. But gawd, is it ever time-consuming! We plod around for days, weeks, maybe even months. Thinking sad thoughts, missing the person, possibly even blaming ourselves.

In other types of loss, we are encouraged to live and learn, look for the upside, call it experience and move on. But not death. Even though everyone knows it's coming and we see it all around us every day.

Dharma: ... What is the greatest wonder? ...
Yudhishthira: ... Day after day countless people die. Yet the living wish to live forever...

-- from the Mahabarata

And grieving is all about us. You can say it's about honouring the dead, but they're dead and they probably don't care. The cares of this world are shed. They can't take their riches with you, but neither will they take their debts and worries. And if there is an afterlife, they're probably busy figuring that out.

I definitely think death should be handled better. Accept that we're gone, celebrate the good times we had. Then turn the page to a new chapter. I think that as people who will one day die, we should prepare things for the sobbing messes that are loved ones. Get things in order, prepay our way into the afterlife (coins for the ferryman won't cut it anymore -- it's thousands for a funeral and then there's either the urn or the casket and burial site).
And let people know what you want in the way of post-life festivities: It's almost selfish how they who grieve most get the most say on how the funeral is conducted, and in their depression, you know it's going to be a somber affair.

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