My Tribute to the Dead
Memories of People Whose Time Has Gone By
I passed a cemetery today. No place in particular. As I waited for the light to change in my favor, I saw a cemetery.
It was dark. Everything was encased in a shadow. It was lonely. It made me think, “Who was there?” No, I did not expect an answer, as I did not ask the question aloud. I did wonder, however, about a few things of this area of desolation. It was quiet enough for me to ponder.
These people who now rest peacefully for eternity posed more questions in their death than their life. It did not make sense to ask the living. Only the dead would have my answers. What did these people look like? What did their voices sound like? How did they get around? What did they do for a living? What were their thoughts? Did they believe in racism or not? What were their views on life? How did they perish? What were their joys? What were their sorrows? Where are they now? Do they like where they are now? How did they feel at the moment of death? How did they face their death? How old were they? Do they wish to be left alone? Do they wish for me to visit them from time to time? Are they different than when they were alive? How was their funeral? Was their funeral exactly the way they wanted it to be? Did they have a funeral? What were they wearing for their funeral? How would they want to be remembered? Are they lonely? They will never be forgotten.
It is no secret. They fascinate me. I am in awe of the fact that they have completed their earthly life. How did they enter the world beyond mine? Were they taken immediately to their final destination or was it a long, dusty road that they have to complete in order to reach the light? Do they see me? Are they talking to me? Do they acknowledge my presence like I do theirs? Are they walking with me or are they constantly staring at me? Are they trying to commit me harm or are they trying to help me? I don’t know.
The dead that I know were probably the bravest people I have ever known especially those who died from illness. They had to face the Grim Reaper alone for he only came for them. They may have been surrounded by family in their final hours, but when death put its hand out for them, they bravely gripped it and went on their way. At times, I think of how my Dad and Mom died so peacefully. I recall painfully howI saw the look on my sister's face after she crossed the barrier and entered the afterlife. It was just too hard for me to bear. As for me, do not want people who I love to see me leave. I do not wish for them to have to endure that pain.
All I see is a cemetery where countless headstones are lined up like soldiers at attention. All I see at night is a dark, desolate cemetery. No living human is there. The permanent residents are in elaborate boxes in the ground. They sleep in peace. Or do they? Are the upset at being deceased or are they finally at peace? I would like to know. They are missed. Even though all lives are due to terminate, I want to be remembered, too. I pray for them because, one day, I’d like someone to stop at my grave and pray for me, too. I want people to miss me, yet I don’t want them to be sad.
I have lived a very fortunate life. I was blessed with the best parents on Earth. I have a great family-a brother, a sister-in-law, two nieces and a nephew who is now married with four beautiful children of his own.. They are all the joys of my life. Others have not had the blessings that I have. I know that on the other side, I have a super sister who, along with my parents, are waiting for me. They will guide me to where I belong. I have my friends and other family waiting for me as well. I have a mentor who also looks out for me. I have my music teachers who will be waiting for me. I will be reunited with all of those who had gone before me in my lifetime.
Death is the final destination for us all. We will see everyone-those we have read about in books, those who have been heard of and even those whose life may have been deemed insignificant to the rest of us. To comprehend the fact that we will see stars of entertainment, sports and history is hard to imagine. I always wanted to shake hands with George Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Who wouldn’t? All of us would be together. We would be able to take inventory of the rest of our spiritual days. Assuming we are in Heaven, we will know where the absentees are. Should we end up in Hell, we will know whom we should have listened to in our life. Yes, death will hold the ultimate answers.
No, the dead deserve my respect and they have it. It’s hard to look at a corpse, a once living person, in a box, a blank face most likely contorted and strange. Even the loved ones don’t look that familiar to me. Death changes the body. It is just that-a cold, lifeless body. Why? Why must death happen? Can we just go through life without giving pain to our loved ones? No. Must we go through life being the pained ones? Sometimes. Yet, death is here with us. It is sitting with me just waiting for the right moment should I give it the right moment. Should I walk down the dark street? Should I put that cigarette in my mouth? Should I eat the next calorie-filled delicacy? Should I attempt the next death-defying stunt? Should I not watch where I work? Should I anger the next person? What should I do? Do I really want to leave this world in my sleep? I just want a nice painless experience. But, I also want to be aware the death has taken me. I do not wish to enter a sleep from which I will never awake.
I want my last act on Earth to be the one of greatest kindness to all. I want to make my very last attempt at entering Heaven. I want to leave my Earthly life as a hero, a title which I have never earned or received. I wish I were there to rescue thousands from collapsing towers. I wish I saved someone from a burning wreck of some sort. I wish I could have foiled a hijacking even though I would have to pay with my life. It would have all been worth it especially if it meant that someone else would have lived to remember me.
Please don’t look at this discourse as a death wish or a plead to die. No, it is merely my way of sending my tributes to the dead. You see, when I pass that cemetery, I see plots and plots of people who have hopefully lived a good life. Each person was a good person. Therefore, each one of these departed souls deserves a tribute from me. And as my tribute to the dead, I remember them and will always pray for them. Thank you.