On death and memories

Now in a whole new package!

Now in a whole new package!

My Grandpa once took me to the cemetery to clean up his Mom’s grave site. Now that I know he only had 2 years to live, I understand the real reason behind the trip: he wanted to teach me to take care of his grave. I never visited his grave and I don’t think I failed him.

I am a simple person. When a book has been read, its paper pages are irrelevant. When booze has been consumed, the bottle is irrelevant. When a man dies, his shell is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the impact he had on my life.  This part will stay with me, within me for the time of my life. By refusing to forget him I am already paying him the greatest respect. No amount of flowers, marble statues, statutory holidays will make him more important to me, nor will their absence make him less important.

When a light bulb burns out, it’s the light we are missing, not the light bulb. When a man dies, it’s the man we are missing, not his body. I don’t care about his body. I don’t understand how anyone can assign importance to a piece of decomposing flesh and a few cubic inches of land around it.

Body is nothing but yet another instrument. When broken, it becomes garbage, just like potato peels or fish guts. I don’t want them to become a part of my life—I throw them out, physically and mentally.

While maintaining graves is a nonsensical activity that eats time and physical energy, there is a mental and emotional counterpart: various highly ritualized wakes, commemorations, Yahrzeits, etc. If you cherish someone’s memory, you already do. Memory cannot be faked or replaced by ceremonies.

When a man dies, he is split in two: the person we remember, and the body that his Self used as a space suit to function in a hostile atmosphere of our world.

The differences we find between household garbage and our deceased are 100% imaginary. I bet you anything that we did not put these differences in our heads ourselves. Worshiping the dead is not a built-in feature of a human being. They are called “dead” for a reason, and as such, they cannot be a part of anyone’s life. It makes no sense.

If we are encouraged by traditions, unwritten rules and public eye to do something that makes no sense, rest assured that it’s another trick to keep us weak and predictable.

* * *

There is nobody I failed by ignoring my Grandpa’s grave. I can’t have failed him, as he is dead. I did not fail myself, though everyone around me sees me as a heartless bastard. Anyone else? If they care, let them do whatever will make them feel better.

I remember, love, and miss my Grandpa, not his corpse. His words and acts are a part of myself. I see no point in wasting the time of my life to physically or emotionally return to the shell he once used. Nature will take the best possible care of it without my participation.

5 comments to On death and memories

  • Andy

    i cant believe you`ve posted something like this on DTOM, and its not about ”Worshiping the dead” people do it because its part of their religion/culture or other reasons. Anyway i dont understand what does it have to do with what this site is all about.

  • Silverfox

    Life is short. Love like there is no tomorrow. Live so you are important to those that love you. When I die I don’t want a grave. Just some photos on the walls of those that love me, and fond memories. Let me be ground into fertilizer and be spread on farmland so I can truly give to the next generation.

  • Ben

    @ Andy

    Don’t let your normalacy bias cloud you. There is a lesson in there. You just have to find it. To take a page from Mustafa….what is this site supposed to be about? Perhaps it is different for every person? Are there rules at this site? I have not seen any as of yet. Someone can write an essay about a lolipop and if it makes me think and it is germain to my worldview then I would say it is sucessful. Or, here is another notion, does everything have to be about gloom and doom? Silver? The Fed? The Rothschild’s? You can always learn something from a writing if you let your mind open up. And isn’t that what it’s all about? That is what makes this site so unique. I am not sure I could keep visiting if it was all doom and gloom all the time.

  • Prudentis

    Since you state yourself, that you “don’t get it” let me enlighten you, since I know you for a knowledge seeker.
    It is not for the dead we do those things but for ouerselves.
    Simple as that.
    If you do not have need for those things (graves, flowers, etc.) you are free to pay homage to your deceased, close ones the way you like it.
    But do you know why I still visit my grandpa’s and grandmas’ graves with my parents? For my parents. Since I know how much it would hurt them if I didn’t.
    They would think, that I would not come “visit” them after their deaths and perceive it, as me not caring. And since with no amount of persuasion and discussions could I make them understand, that it would not matter, if I visit their graves or not, I just do it, for their sake.
    I am not an atheist by the way, but I don’t regard the ramains of the body as anything but dust and fertilizer.

  • Thankful

    From dust you have come and to dust you shall return. Well said.

    some people are more concrete, some more spiritual, some more cognitive. Having wakes, remembrance services, graves, and doing nothing allows the greatest breadth of responses to the needs of the many types of people to both express their grief, share their grief with others (if desired) and to remember their loved ones afterward. While we may not understand other types of expression, there are clear needs for it in others and it serves a beneficial purpose.

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