death personhood

Death: A Moment of Reflection

6:00:00 AMMarisa Ramos

Time is something that has confused people since its beginning. It is intricate to everything we do, for everything that is done can only be done within time. In some situations, it matters less about what goes on during a typical day at your job or with your kids. But what really matters is how you spend that time personally during that situation; such as whether or not you choose to be kind to that person at work who chooses to make your life a living nightmare. Are you being reverent to the situation at hand during the time given to you or have you wasted the time that ought to have been set aside so that you could properly reflect upon and respond to the situation?

Sometimes there is a death of a loved one, someone whom you have known since childhood, who has been part of some of your fondest memories and now they are gone. You have been given a certain amount of time to mourn this loss, to grieve for this loved one, and to reverently respond to their death and all that it means. In the United States, unlike other countries and cultures, this time of mourning is generally reserved for the ceremonies that are held for the deceased; specifically those of a wake, a funeral, a celebration of life, or however a family might wish to mourn their loved one. With these ceremonies being the only apparent means of mourning their loss, are we really being reverent to the death of a person by only formally paying our respects to their entire life during the span of a few hours?

After reflection we realize just how much time and energy we spent mourning the loss of a loved one. This event demands our reflection and reverence. In my reflections, the passing of a person means very simply that a life has ended; everything that they had done will never be done again and all that stays behind is faint memories of times gone by. This person, no matter who they were or what they did, deserves a greater reverence and respect than a two hour communal recollection. This does not mean that people ought to be distraught for years being unable to think of much else, for that too would be irreverent to their passing. For, if little else occupied our minds but their death, then we are not accepting that death is a part of life; we are not allowing our response to be ordered in light of the ultimate meaning of life and death. It seems to me, that a short reflection followed by an almost complete disregard for the loss of a person, is also irreverent to the situation.

A human person in all their dignity and gravity deserves more than a brief remembrance; for if one can mourn the loss of a pet or the loss of a possession for days or even weeks, how much more ought we to mourn the loss of a loved one. The actions they performed, either good or bad, ought to impact how we go about our daily lives. If we know that how they went about their lives greatly impacted many people, we might want to consider acting in a similar manner; learning from them and reflecting upon what they have done. It seems to me that after someone has departed from our lives, we must strive to learn from the good or evil that they did, either repeating the good or learning from their mistakes and avoiding the evil.

It seems that we must learn to do more than simply move on with our lives and act as if nothing happened; which happens when someone whom you loved has left your life and you act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. We must be reverent to the situation of death, we must recount the life that has been lost, and ultimately, we must reflect on how our lives ought to be led after this.

Dedicated to Rafaela Ramos. May she always rest in peace.


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