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Death And Loss: Half Glass Full

Death and Loss
By Shadon Meredith

I have been to a funeral today and this is my response.

We are an ethereal entity waiting for our ride home. Not a house, a home that humanity in its entirety all know. Whatever that space or room is, we know in its spirituality that we all need to head there, like a marker in the North Pole, Hawaiki and Zion.

Death has played a huge part in my makeup and it has been knocking on the doors of my loved ones and their families recently. Some say we have been hit hard all at once. It’s kind of fitting that an earthquake, though I never wished it upon anyone, has happened and affected people we know in our timeframe. I guess this earthquake readied us for the storm of today. We all know one thing for sure and that is that we will all die. What we don’t know in its unknown wake is what legacy will be left behind.

Death questions our very core. It makes you see its opposite in close magnification. Life. I have been reading ‘The Empty Space’ by Peter Brook and it talks of deadly theatre. In its reflection, it uses the word ‘deadly’ to make us understand what theatre could be if we get the art to a space of lifeless performance and what that does in its leftovers. Dull existence.

What is life if you are not content in your very being?

Why should we wait for a diagnosis or an epic event or somebody’s funeral to make us matter; not just to others but to your own content? Why produce art in anything you do that holds no value or substance in its purpose?

Immortality exists for egocentrics. Ego is a funny thing usually considered as a negative. Ego makes me stand up and be counted. Ego also sometimes makes me do crazy things or experience things in a misunderstood way. Ego with its counterpart; humbleness, rest on an equilibrium of its beholder. But for some uncanny reason, I’m persuaded to go to its extremes and lie in its deathly bed. What I might do based on personality and the way I use these two powerful tools could favour my legacy or destroy it all together.

Who are we if we are not content? What does that mean ‘content’? Is art the way of dealing with some of life’s emotional content? Does it solve its mysteries of life?

Close relationships are always tested in these moments of loss. The fabric of what you have sewn may come undone if not created with the right amount of love. Love comes in many forms some shallow and lust eccentric, some with bonds that may surprise the test of time. Death shines lights on the holes you tried to hide, I guess that’s why Shakespeare wrote so many death scenes into his plays. It applies a super tonne of pressure to the people that have to deal with its void.

Falelauasiga is the Samoan word for a funeral process. Fa’asamoa; the Samoan way of life, has an innate ability and time to ‘walk with their dead’.

I remember my Great Grandma’s funeral in 1992. I guess I remember the year and feelings due to the epic family gathering. of it. She had nine kids and my Nana is one of two girls in the equation. The amount of family both from Samoa and New Zealand was phenomenal, and the event of her funeral was even more dazzling when I recall it. The process itself allowed for grieving, not a day or two or three, but a full two weeks of my grandma never being alone, vigilant, someone would always be walking with her on her next part of her ethereal journey. This is part of her legacy that in some way she had engaged with you to whatever capacity in all her complexity; you could measure this by the sounds of wailing, quiet sobs and staunchness behind black sunglasses that came out of people, a genuine feeling of comradery, an earth mothering way of caring for each other, and a sense of belonging as a nation of orphans in a foreign land. We will someday soon come to remember this feeling again when my Nana passes.

I have the privilege to be with my wife, my son and my dog on a journey of the unknown. At the moment we have moved back to my wife’s original home with her parents. Her mother has always seen her glass as half full and she talks of being content with her life and I can see it. She is a source of maternal and matriarchal inspiration and as she sews her story into the fabric of these walls that have seen her and her family grow and develop, she then starts to breathe life into a legacy that not even she cannot fathom. She has cancer for the third time shall we say and this time it is not operable.

It does not define her though which is a testament to her beautiful hardworking character. I can tell that we have limited months let alone weeks or days with her. This brings me to moments of clear clarity about my situation and then it brings me to utter chaotic confusion knowing she is here with us but soon she won’t be. This is a beautiful complex piece of art that I get to witness, be a part of and sometimes smashed against its jagged edges. It is like I said before a huge privilege to weather this tumultuous sea with a family not of your blood but a family by marriage and their openness and acceptance of me.

‘Half glass full’ is a phrase built on positive affirmations, an outlook on life that focuses on the sensual waves you have taken and are still riding, and also seeing the negative doldrums as just another part of life. A tool in helping you paint on life’s canvas and creating in part of your unknown legacy.

This is dedicated to those that have lost someone.

 

 

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