Despite this week carrying one of the most historic decisions in the history of the country (yes–historic, no–I’m not thrilled about it), I can’t say anything exceptional happened, except that my friend’s father passed away from a four year struggle with a brain tumor.
The wake had literally thousands of people streaming in and out, and while waiting in the line to kneel at the casket and greet the family. I got to thinking a lot about death, and the conflicting emotions that happen when someone in pain dies. My own grandfather struggled with throat, stomach, prostate, and colon cancer for ten years before he told any of us, and that was two months before he died. He was in an exorbitant amount of pain, due to the cancer and the malpractice from the nursing home. When he finally died in hospice, I was confused as to what to feel. I didn’t want him to die, but asking him to keep living, and being angry about it seemed selfish and cruel. I wanted to be benevolent and accept it, knowing he was free from pain, but it was just so hard to be.
Like my friend’s father, my grandfather had been in the service, and had many colleagues and friends from his job upon return. These people that you don’t know, never met….all paying their respects, is kind of soothing, especially because his death and funeral were unannounced. But then I wondered, “If I died, who would come to my funeral?”
That exact issue is included in the (terrible) movie “Forces of Nature” with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock. Does the college sweetheart come, along with all the friends that took his side after the break-up, and are consequentially not my friends anymore? Do the kids I graduated with come? Do my professors and teachers? The people I was friends with in college, but then lost touch with after graduation? The ex boyfriends that never met my parents? The China group, with whom I shared life-changing experiences, though we’ve all gone our separate ways? It’s a terrible thing to think about; because then you start to think no one would come…I got to that point and was thoroughly depressed.
Seeing the same type of wake and funeral play out twice, almost a year apart, started to make me realize that I need to make some changes to my life….even if all of it is in my head. I try to lead a good life, and I think that I want to do great things, and good things, and make marks on people’s lives so that the last thing I will ever be is forgettable.