Departure

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I saw my first dead body last Saturday. Up close.

Ok, context. Someone from my Junior High class passed away last Friday. It was in a car accident. Another friend called me Saturday and left a message, that the funeral was going to be that same day in the evening. When I arrived home, I was obviously sort of stunned. I did know the guy who passed on, even though he really wasn't a very good friend. In truth, I hadn't seen him since we graduated high school (6 years ago this June) and honestly I had not much regrets. But I decided to go. Not so much because he had been a very important person in my life, but more because I did remember him sometimes and had lots of memories of him (even though he was kind of short, he had this really nice body, hehe).

So off I went. I was the first from our class to arrive. The room was full of people, and they were all afflicted with the same gloom. This was the first funeral I had ever been to. My mom said that a young person's funeral is always much more somber and tragic that an old person's. For someone who has already lived a long life, there is a sense of completion and certain satisfaction; one can say "Well, he lived a good life"... or at least "He lived a long one". But where I was at there was a feeling of injustice and frustration, an aura of dark and bitter resentment covered the halls. I could see what they were thinking: God had taken him too soon, it wasn't his time. (The reality is that this is all the time he was ever given). Food for thought, indeed.

It was nice seeing some old school chums, even if it was under terrible circumstances. We all got together and bought some flowers and when the time came, we all went to pay our respects to his mother. I recalled his parents being quite old; since only his mom was there, I figured the father had already passed away. The mother was incredibly well composed (she was even consoling other people, really!). I don't know, maybe when you're older you see death differently. Her eyes showed a spirit that had seen death many times before and now had almost grown accustomed to it, be it timely or not. Maybe that's an advantage the old have over the young, they are no longer so afraid of death. The rest of us, we were mortified.

I didn't even want to go near the coffin. I was terrified of looking death in the face. Sadly, when I was looking in the direction of the body, the people who were standing in front of him moved away and WHAM!, I saw his face. Shit. Oh well. It really wasn't THAT bad, it just took some getting used to (like so many other things in life). I sometimes condemn people for being scared of the unknown (i.e. homosexuality) but it is at times like these that I give them the benefit of the doubt. Almost. Death, the ultimate mystery. Does it all just end? Can that really happen? Can it just be "Curtains, lights out!". Mystifying... and scary.

After the funeral, my old school chums and I went to a café to "catch up" on our lives. It was quite a nice time. I almost felt a little guilty laughing and smiling after such tragedy. But then again, that's what the living do; that's what people do; in spite of death and all other elements of nature, they move and live on.

Goodbye, Luis.

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