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The Sad Truth About Death

Death has always been a troubling subject for me. When my grandmother passed away, it was such a devestating thing that for a while I didn’t know how me or my mother would go on. We knew we would, but it was extremely hard at the time. Add to that my dislike of funerals, and we have the formula of something that most people can identify with easily.

I just got word that my uncle’s wife just passed away late last night. They were married for almost 45 years — can you imagine? She had a stroke back in February and was in a nursing home for the last couple of months. She just got sick with a cold or some such, and it went downhill from there. Aunt Ramona was a cool lady, originally from Cuba and loved her listening to her music and cooking her Cuban food. She was a mother — 3 kids she raised and then watched *their* children while they went about their lives to make it better for them. I always enjoyed spending time at their house in the summers when I was a kid — it was time away in a new environment for a bit. It’s a sad day indeed.

And what I really think of now is my uncle and my cousins, the people left behind, the ones that cared the most and the most directly about her. Death is a disease — the ultimate disease — akin to cancer, alcoholism and gambling… it leaves plenty of victims in its wake. At the same time, death is a cleansing, for the person that dies (they may have been in extreme pain, just like my aunt was) and for the people left behind (the ills of the past no longer affecting the present actively). It is the memory that hurts the most, the memory of things that once were, living inside of your head and replaying like a CD left on repeat.

Without memories, death would be a non-event. The reminders of people, their kindness or hatefulness, their contributions or selfish actions, would not affect anyone and it would simply be, “Oh well”.

What I feel right now is regret… for not having been there as much as I could have. And that’s on me. In the throes of “living your life”, lots of people fall to the wayside, not forgotten, but just not thought of. It does not mean you love them any less, but there still is no justification. Sad but true. So, on this dreary, wet day, Saturday, April 22, 2006, I remember my Aunt Ramona… and I bask in my regret and memories, for it is all I have left.