Sunday, January 30, 2011

Grave matters

I promised myself I would write a happy post, but as Confucius said, “He who makes a promise is a liar”, so I'm not entirely to blame for any sad words that may follow.

Death. It’s so certain, yet it still remains the most uncertain part of our lives. It’s there, waiting for us. Most of us don’t want to die, and probably never imagined ourselves as dying, gone from the world, all the hard work we had done in our lives, all the riches we accumulated, all the hatred and love we carried inside, all gone in that instant when our hearts stop beating.

I have been extremely lucky in that I haven’t lost anybody close to me. My father’s mother died when I was four, his father died when I was twelve. I have vague memories of my grandfather, he lived in Champhai and we would exchange letters, and he would visit us occasionally. But I clearly remember the time when he was hospitalised, and I was in the next room when he breathed his last in that small hospital room. I didn’t cry, and I don’t remember being sad. My parents went to Champhai for the funeral, and when they returned I joked that now that his parents were dead, my father was now an orphan and maybe he should live in an orphanage. It was mealtime, and everyone laughed. But now I realise it was a very crude and insensitive thing to do, and not in the least funny. I never understood how lost and lonely my father would have felt after losing both parents. I still cannot imagine how that would feel like, because thankfully both my parents are still alive. I have seen people losing their loved ones, have seen them cry and mourn, but I cannot truly sympathise with them because it’s something I have never experienced.

My mother’s father died four years back. He too lived in Champhai, and we rarely saw him. So when he passed away I didn’t really mourn as one ought to mourn for one’s deceased grandfather. I know I seem callous and insensitive here again, but to tell you the truth it’s really hard to feel the loss of someone you hardly know, no matter how closely related you are.

So when I say I haven’t lost anybody close to me, I'm talking about the people who are close to my heart, related or otherwise. You make your own relations in life; your ancestry is just a part of it. As you grow up and make friends, you decide who to love and who to remain close to, you choose the people you’d mourn with all your heart and soul should you ever be parted by death. And all of us are going to go through it, we don’t have a choice, life gives us no choice.

I think I've made you pretty sad by now. And I haven’t even got to the point of this post. I used to have a friend who would skirt a topic for hours until you tell him to get the point. I hope I'm not becoming like him.

Death is unavoidable, we all know we are going to die, our loved ones are going to die, and nobody knows whose turn will come first. We wait, and in the meantime try to have fun and collect riches. But how often do we think of death? The seriousness of it, the everlastingness of it, the inevitability of it all. We fall sick now and then, but we never think of dying. Our loved ones fall sick, and we just assume they would get well again in a few days. No matter how ill someone is, the human mind still clings to that thin thread of hope that everything will be all right, that things will all work out for the better.

My cousin’s wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer of the 2nd stage, and she now lies in a hospital bed waiting for surgery. It is at that stage where it can be cured or it can turn aggressive. We all pray and hope for the best. Please remember her in your thoughts and prayers.

Sometimes I feel God put pain and suffering in this world to wake us up, to shake some sense into us, and to remind us not to take anyone or anything for granted. I know this may sound like a cliché, but cherish every minute life gives you, because you don’t know when it will be taken away from you.


  1. When we were kids, my friends would tell me that someone who talks/thinks about death a lot are going to die soon. So no matter how much you wonder about it, I would keep my mouth tightly shut for fear that I would hasten it's coming. You're right there seems to be a death-obsession flu going around. Such a coincidence that a lot of us seem to have been dwelling on the same sad subject.

    Don't you just hate cancer? Will keep your cousin's wife in my prayers.

  2. Ni engtikah emaw kan la thi theuh dawn si a. Tun huna, Thih hnua , DAMNA kan chan theih nan tan kan lak hi apawimawh ani.

    I kazen nupui kan lo tawngtaipui ang.

  3. When my nephew's dog died of old age a year ago, the little tyke told me that it had gone to the Garden of Eden, and that this Garden was in Kanhmun, and so he didnt feel sad because his uncle was also in Kanhmun and so the dog would have someone to take care of it. But he still misses his dog so :-/
    As Christians we are supposed to take comfort in the fact that there is an Afterlife. But that doesnt stop the living from missing the Afterlifers, does it? Death is still the great divide.

  4. Jerusha – It’s not only about death, but I still secretly believe that talking about something bad (like falling sick etc) would make it come true. Silly, isn’t it? And if I'm having a good time doing something, then I'm afraid to talk about it for fear that it might get jinxed and come to an end.

    sekibuhchhuak - A dik khawp mai, tun hun chauh hi kan lo ngaihtuah leh thin.

    kuku – Unless our memory is wiped or something we will always remember the Afterlifers. Memory is a blessing as well a curse sometimes.

  5. "No matter how ill someone is, the human mind still clings to that thin thread of hope that everything will be all right, that things will all work out for the better." ambs, you are so so right. And even when you know fully well it won't work out in any other way but one, it's still devastating when it happens.

  6. J - Your comment reminds of that death scene from Terms of Endearment where after the daughter dies the mother cries and says she thought it would be a relief but it was hard, so hard. I think we can never be prepared enough to face the death of a loved one, and accepting it must be even harder.