Although most of us have come across a death incident at least once in their adult life and have mourned someone they loved and lost, still, dealing with funerals and burials is considered taboo for many of us. A lot of people, men and women, do not even think of going to the burial of their lost ones, even if they were very close to them. They just don’t feel they can handle such a huge situation. But the question is, is it death? Is it the concept of burying someone? Or, is it the fear of loss that makes one feel that way? I think it’s all those combined in addition to fact that some people are very superstitious and panic if they are in a place where death is the highlight of the event.
I personally have never been to a burial except that of my grandfather’s and I was 28 at that time! I was a bit iffy about going, to be honest, but I realized that death is actually a part of life and I should just brave it once in my life. My grandfather’s death shook us all. We couldn’t actually believe he is truly gone and that we have to say goodbye at the very last minute of him being “physically” with us. Going to the graveyard and seeing the undertaker do his thing and, for the first time, I saw where we actually end up in, was just so nerve wrecking. It was dark, scary and just not the best goodbye I ever said to anyone in my life. The scene haunted me for weeks and it put me in a terrible mood altogether, besides grieving for my grandfather’s death in itself.
After this incident, I was curious to research why an adult like myself would always find excuses to get out of going to a burial of someone they lost. I wanted to know why some people are stronger than others when it comes to putting someone underground. I came across this website that mentioned that one of the reasons people do not like or in fact fear witnessing the ending of someone’s life is that they might be in denial that life actually can end for someone they love and care for. They just cannot comprehend how they can wake up one day and not being able to pick up the phone and call that person or drive up to their house and not find them there. For good this time. Such people are usually very emotional by nature and therefore see this as a big load they believe they are not ready to or capable of carrying so they just make up justifications for not being part of it.
One other valid explanation for this feeling, and which I find very true, is that when we lose someone we love and always looked up for, like a father, or even a role model in life, sometimes we refuse to accept seeing such a big figure (at least in our eyes) be in such a powerless, restless position as with death. They probably meant a lot to us when they were alive and perhaps we have been dependant on them for all our lives that we feel kind of lost without them. At that point, covering them with sand and leaving them in such a dark, creepy place does not seem like something we can tolerate. They were such strong and important people, how can they just be so vulnerable? How can they leave us in this life and go? Such attached people cannot go through this experience and try to escape this encounter as much as possible.
Other people explain why people do not go to burials simply because they are scared of death altogether. But who isn’t? No one expects death or wishes for it, unless they are suffering from deep depression or some kind of psychological disorder. But if we are talking about sane, normal people, then we all agree that death is not a good thing to think of, let alone experience with someone close to us. So fearing death and not wanting to see it happen to somebody we know on a first degree level is pretty normal. The burial site, especially under the Islamic tradition, is such a morbid place that has to leave an impact on even the strongest of us. The idea of laying someone in a hole in the ground makes one’s heart ache. One can argue that this person is dead and does not feel a thing, but in your defense, this is “somebody” and they are still alive in your eyes so you don’t think about them as not feeling anything, but as the person you have known for a long time and you do not want to see them in such a horrifying place.
After being to my grandfather’s burial I realized that people should experience such a thing at least when the deceased is that important to them simply because it reminds us of what we are all going to go through at some point in our lives. Life is a one-way road and there is no detour or shortcut out of it, so we have to accept it as an important aspect of life. Fearing death can only make us miserable and lose track of our lives and maybe lose our minds altogether. Faith is our only resort when we are struck by fear of death for any reason, like watching a bloody movie, seeing a deadly accident on the way home or simply watching the news about wars and people getting killed everyday. One should believe that God has a plan for every single one of us and no matter what we do, this plan will take place at the designated time and place. So people who are very superstitious and try to “scare off” death with all the mambo jumbo of voodoo and witchcraft, will be the ones to suffer the most when they face death of their beloved ones. They probably thought they were well prepared for and warded against death but they were actually suppressing this fear with such tools that when it hits them it hits them hard. Death is inevitable and will continue to take place till the end of time, so it’s better if we brave witnessing it and use it as reminder of what life is all about. We all have our baggage so instead of spending our lives fearing death why not spend it trying to unload this baggage off our backs and become lighter at heart?