The way grief is portrayed is my least favorite tradition out here. It’s highly likely that we will feel loss at a painful level when we lose someone close to us. What bothers me is that we have to convince everyone around us that we are sad. I think the Habesha tradition confuses grief with insanity. Like unless you have completely lost your mind and bid farewell to common sense you aren’t sad enough about whatever loss you are dealing with.
Thinking of people who commit suicide, I hear people around them beating themselves up after the victims have died. Their friends and family would sit around wondering what went wrong. “He was fine last night…. We had dinner together…. He was eating and laughing fine….” they would say and they would try to think of certain signs they could have spotted to maybe bring a different outcome. But I think sadness and depression and grief aren’t somethings we always wear like a shroud. They’re something we bury deep beneath our hearts and so they burn us out slowly and quietly. Any one could be holding sadness at any moment. Attempting to think we can see it in others all the time is really impossible.
I’m often accused of not getting my priorities right. I’m a generally calm person during times of panic like if you exploded next to me the chances of me running away screaming are very very low. Or that time someone very close to me died and all I was thinking about was that I should write a poem for their memorial. However, a few days ago, I accidentally deleted season one of The Magicians from my laptop and I temporarily became a madwoman. I see others around me and I think no matter how much we condemn death, we have accepted that we cannot really do anything once it hits and I don’t know exactly how sad we must be over one dying. And my favorite part, if you are in fact insanely and visibly sad, everyone is just set on saying nice things about good old death but if you turn out okay there is something definitely wrong with you.
I am really fascinated by how fucked up we are over death. We have theorized so much about it that me, personally, I cannot wait to see what happens after. And I’ve come to learn that I am not alone with this thought. Many of us aren’t afraid of dying, that lights out moment. We are afraid of missing out on whatever happens in life I think because all we know and remember is life. The change is unsettling and less attractive.
I am staying out of the religious perspective on purpose. Everyone must die and everyone will die but until they do die, it’s something we should stay away from. In most common religions death is reunion with the creator. Why keep the creator waiting? I am fascinated by how we are selfish about the afterlife too because someone told me that animals don’t have an afterlife in certain Christian religions. Why?
I love our Ethiopian culture. In fact, I think the fact that I was raised as a cultured Ethiopian woman has made me sort of unimpressed by many messed up things. That and pop culture. Don’t ask me to explain this. I will not. I don’t think we really feel sad that whoever had died has died. It’s practically like we assume that because they have died, they are at a loss of all the “awesome”things this world had to offer. I have paid close attention to the mourning and the crying process and I have noticed how select people recognize that we lost them and not them us. But the majority cries and grieves like the dead have lost something by dying. Maybe when one dies they are suspended in euphoric bliss, maybe when one dies there is nothing, maybe when one dies there is God, but why should the living go insane???
If dying is such a natural, inevitable phenomenon how have we, after all these years of dealing with it, still not figured out how to actually deal with it? I can understand being angry about murder because above all, that shit is disrespectful. But death of old age, death by suicide….. how are these things different from someone just up-ing and moving away forever? Do we get to mourn our exes too because we are probably not going to see those people ever again. Is it the fact that we don’t know what the dead are up-to that kills us?
Why is death such a big fucking deal?
P.S. I know how stupid I sound. Only real answers are appreciated here.