Embracing death gracefully: the changed perspective

As we said in another post, we had a month-long trip to our parents and relatives. It was amazing, especially for Dear Son.

During this trip, I realized a strength of my family that I considered a dark side for a long time. It is about how my family deals with death of a family member. By my family I mean my mother, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. My father is not in the list because he passed away around ten years ago.

My father’s passing

My father was less than sixty when he died. How did I handle my father’s passing then? I was furious. I felt lost. I had wonderful dreams almost every night where he was alive and then realized he was no more when I woke up. My chest was full of pain from inside, figuratively speaking. Dear Wife was the only one with whom I could talk freely about my father and cry. Everyone talked about how nice my father was, how knowledgeable he was, how much he loved us, so and so forth. No one but my mother sheds tears while talking about my father. I could not stay in a place where relatives were speaking about my father. I started to feel that my relatives and family members are quite rude. They speak of my father as if he is around.

My uncle’s passing

My uncle passed away when he was fifty five, two years after my father passed away. He was close to me and my siblings; a lot of childhood memories surround him. My aunt, still today, tells me that she wants to bring my uncle up from the grave and ask him why he didn’t treat the heart blockage right away on the day when he was diagnosed as having a heart disease.

My brother’s passing

My oldest brother passed away two years ago. He was forty two years old. His death reminded all that age is just a number and death does not follow rules. All my relatives talk about my brother still today — how brilliant he was, what a naughty boy he was, and how he was a hero among all our maternal and paternal cousins during our childhood. Only my mother sheds tears.

The negative perception I had about my family

Everyone talked about all the family members who passed away so easily that I used to believe our bloodline had some kind of brutality. How can one of my brothers speak about a brother who passed away without shedding a tear? How can a mother tell funny stories about her deceased son or husband?

Whatever I thought a brutality is actually a strength. I realized I was wrong.

When I went back home during the winter break, I realized one thing — my father is still there with my family even after a decade of his death. My uncle, my oldest brother, my grandfather, my great grandmother, all are around. I told my relatives stories about how my oldest brother cheated to give me the blame of turning on the television. I told everyone how he protected two of his younger brothers from bullies. I told stories about my father, uncle, grandfather, who are physically not around anymore. I could see how all of them are still alive in our family. They are still alive because all my family members are brave enough to speak about them freely without shedding a tear. What I thought was brutal is actually a strength.

We now tell stories to Dear Son about all our family members whom he has never seen or whom he cannot remember because he was too young when they passed away. It took me a decade to understand why my family embraces the death of a family member so gracefully.

Settle in El Paso team


36 thoughts on “Embracing death gracefully: the changed perspective

  1. My grandparents (both from my father’s side and mother’s side) died long before I was born. The only grand patents that I got to see (if this word can be used) was my father aunt who raised my father (my father was an orphan). My father’s aunt died when I was 5 years old. I remember how my parents, especially father, cried when she died. When my grand aunt died, I did not cry, in fact I was happy that we will be traveing to our home town.
    The only death that I have watched very closely was the death of my aucle and ti was very terrifying experience.

  2. Death is a debt we all owe and that is one thing that has given me the mind not to feel afraid of death anymore. I hope we live to achieve all we plan to do as well. So sorry about those losses of your loved ones.

  3. Death is something no one wants to hear or talk about. I experience death in the family when my dad died last year. He is already 81 but still it was hard for us to accept that he is already gone. None of us was brave enough to talk about him for the entire year because remembering would just lead into a heart felt and tearful conversation. But probably that is how humans cope in the long run. Little by little each one of us gets to accept the reality of nature. Life is too short and living the life of the past does not bring you anywhere. Though it may still hurt but not as much as the early days when he was gone. Now that it has been a year we get to talk about him more casually and simply remembering the happy moments he has left behind. It’s not being brutal. It’s our way of accepting and understanding the reality of nature. I love you Dad where ever you are.

  4. Death is something that is common to us. It’s very difficult to accept this fact in our lives but having God in your life means assurance of his love toward us. Reading this kind of blog moves you into tears. Anyways be strong and trust God always.

  5. This thoughtful post made me think and remember my late family members and my much missed pets.
    Great to meet you and thanks for dropping by my blog as well. x

    1. Thank you very much for your visit and comment. Sorry for the delayed response. The automated filter separated the comment for moderation. It does this now and then. We are happy to meet you as well. We are looking forward to reading your posts in your blog. Have a wonderful weekend.

  6. I was in awe reading your posting knowing that I miss a lot my father who passed away three years ago.
    I wish I could go back in the past to at least hug him for the last time while crying that we are forgiving each other for everything. How he meant a lot to me, and made me cry when I climbed the second highest mountain in my country. I cried at the peak, record my own video, telling him I miss him so much, that mountain hiking is one of my hobby, just like his when he was young.

    Your writing is so powerful and affect so many people since we experience grieve and lost.
    Thank you!

    1. Dear Wisnu, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I used to see my father in my dreams many times till a few years after his passing. I hugged him in my dreams. I dreamt of my oldest brother after he passed away at forty two. He said goodbye to me in my dream. It was not easy but I felt a little comfort at that time believing that they already knew what I tried to tell them. What I am trying to say is that I am sure your father is proud of you and he already knows what you want to tell him.

      Thank you for expressing your feelings in such wonderful words in our blog.

  7. You had to work through your grief and anger before you could realize the beauty in remembering and talking about those you lost. You were just in a different place than them and were experiencing the grief at a different pace.

    I’m so glad you have come to this new place in your loss.

  8. This was so moving. It brought tears to my eyes. You people are wonderful — keeping alive memories of those who are no more. Best of all you keep them alive in your young ones’ minds.

    1. That is what keeps us smile everyday. Those memories are really priceless. Thank you for stopping by and writing such a lovely comment.

  9. Embracing death and dealing with such loses gracefully is a strength, indeed, and very hard to do. For some people anyway. I have a hard time not tearing up when thinking about loved ones who passed away, but I can also share fun and sweet memories about them with others. It is the initial period after anyone’s passing that makes me mad, sad, helpless, unable to move on. When the years go by, I can deal with those feelings better, but having loved ones pass before “their time” remains hard and unfair. I”m glad you have discovered your family’s strength and can now share that trait!

    1. What a thoughtful comment. You have said it well that the initial period is the hardest. Thank you for explaining this and sharing your experience.

  10. Thank you for this very thoughtful and sensitive post. And thank you for following my blog. Your post reminds me of the memorial we held for my mother the summer after her winter death. We sat around on the porch of the house my great-grandparents bought in the 1800s and told stories of happy and funny memories of her. It helped ease the pain of losing her, and even more important, I can remember how good it felt then and feel it now.

    1. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experience. Yes definitely it helps a lot in easing the pain. I remember how much pain I was in when my father passed away, especially because I could not speak with anyone about him without crying. I think ten years ago I had lesser ability of embracing such a loss. Time healed that pain, or may be I matured a bit. Now I talk about all family members I lost. I am absolutely with you on this — it feels really good when I tell the stories I have of them.

  11. “What I thought was brutal is actually a strength.” I love this line! You’ve been through a lot! This is a wonderful post on how to gracefully deal with something often out of our control- death. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

    1. Thank you very much for reading the post and writing such a wonderful comment. We are glad to know that you liked this post.

    1. Dear Pat,
      I know from your blog that you lost your son when he was only 26. I am extremely sorry for your loss. I know it is very hard for you and everyone of your family.

      My oldest brother passed away suddenly two years ago without prior signs of a heart condition. My niece was six at that time. My sister-in-law and my mother talk to my niece and to others about my brother; hopefully, my niece will remember her father’s memories when she will grow up.

      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right — Being able to talk helps bring the smiles back. It took me some time to realize this but I do understand it now.

      Best wishes.

  12. Your post is absolutely excellent. You may have read in my blog that we lost our son when he was only 26 years old. He was in a car accident…it was raining and an oncoming driver lost control coming over a hill. What a devastating occurrence for our daughter, my husband and myself…as well as his cousins and friends. The way we made it through and have been able to find our smiles again is by keeping his memory close to our hearts by talking about him…mentioning something that he did….something that he liked. We tell stories about when he first when to UT-Austin and spent so much time hiking, rock climbing, riding his bicycle everywhere and let us not forget the lake! Classes? Oh…that too! It makes me smile just to think about those experiences and how much he loved Austin! We are stronger even though we surely miss him. We are happier sharing our love for Justin!

  13. That’s tough, so many losses, and even in the loss, so many gains. Thanks for building the courage to share.

  14. Talking about loved ones who are no longer with us is a way of keeping them alive. Good for you for telling stories to your son. That will continue the memories.
    Linda recently posted…How It StartedMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Linda. Talking about them really reduces the pain and definitely continues the memories. I still remember the stories my father told me about how he grew up.

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