Sunday, February 2, 2014

When I die

When a loved one dies, there is much sorrow and grief expressed in numerous ways.  Death is natural and yet there is something unfair about it.  Certainly, many will live perpetually if given the chance, immortality has been romanticized by vampire movies so much, some think it can actually happen (sappy Twilight sagas that are so slow, one can power nap, wake up and the two characters will still be staring at each other for a good 20 minutes, zzz). Everyone dies, eventually.  It matters how we spent our time on Earth, how many lives we interconnected with, those who we've helped, influenced or encouraged.  How we live matters.

Samoa woke up to two deaths today.  One of a prominent business man and one of a great leader. I am sure their loved ones are seeking comfort in each other as well as in the memories of those who have passed.  Their lives will be missing a father, an uncle, grand father, son, nephew and so forth.  I sympathize with those who know these two men, along with their colleagues and understudies.  To those who are left behind, this verse might be for you

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on"~ Walter Lippman

I have worked with that great leader, he was a man of conviction and to some extent he inspired others as the task of great leaders is not to shine the limelight on themselves but to elicit leadership in others. Samoa may not mourn as the world mourned for the great Mandela however, it does not belittle the achievements of both men nor overshadows their influence on others.  I have a familiar relationship with death as one dear grandfather passed away not too long ago. Time does not heal all wounds, time does not make the grief lighter, time does indeed remind us of how loved we were by that one person.  Time has a way of reminding us how we used to be, how we felt when that one person touched our lives, how one must go on living without them here. It is a bittersweet sentiment; they will be dearly missed and at the same time we have them in our memories.

I had an interesting conversation with my 86 year old, lively grandfather some time ago.  We talked about life in general and the hardships one faces at old age.  We talked about the things he used to do effortlessly only a few years ago that cannot be done so easily now. The conversation then traveled down the road where my other grandfather lies now. Death. I asked him what he thought about the finality of death, no more, full stop part of life.  He acknowledged that it was a natural cycle and he is ready at all times to  go.  He had one very interesting request that I've never heard before.

He didn't care much about where he would be buried (his children will take care of that part). He was not entirely bothered about the people who will attend or those who will be giving eulogies. He did not have any special song requests.  He requested for a simple tea or lunch for the family when he dies and he specially request for a pair of white silk pajamas!! 

" I don't want to be buried in a suit, I'm not getting married
  I don't want to be buried naked, this is not a party (chuckle)
 I want a pair of white silk pajamas, I'm sleeping eternally and will go to be with my God. 
That's what I want when I die"

Trust my sharp grandfather to have such a request!It does make sense on a few levels.  No need for a fancy suit as there are no marriages in heaven (some might rebut this)  and nudity is a no no.  A pair of white silk pajamas will be best if one goes to heaven (eternal sleep). We will all one day be lingering at the mouth of Death valley, I wonder what absurd request we will have. On a more serious note, for those of us left behind.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”John 14:1-4

There is room in heaven for all of us. We just need to accept the gift of salvation.

Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

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