“Death is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.” ~ Susan Cheever
Three of my uncles are buried in Ma'la cemetery in Mecca and, very recently, a cousin of mine lost her husband, Nasser, who was also buried in Ma'la as the rest of my uncles.
How I See Death
I imagine that, once the administration issues with the angels were done, Nasser met up with his parents and relatives and extended relatives, spreading news to the rest of his dead-kin about the living, eventually bringing news to my uncles as well.
I imagine my dead uncles surrounding Nasser with different and evolving dead-expressions, depending on whom they would ask about: expressions of worry and pride when news of their children are passed, expressions of jealousy and kindness when their wives are mentioned, and wonderment when shocking stories of some of their nephews and nieces (ahem) are brought up.
Readjusting how the weight of his doings are now burdened on his ephemeral body, Nasser would – for the rest of his death – repeat the stories heard from the living, and later – along with my uncles and the rest of the dead relatives' society in Ma'la – anticipate some else's arrival in their world to refresh the gossips and readdress the judgments.
The Stories They Tell On The Other Side
If Nasser was familiar with the internet during his life, he might have recognized the similarity in the living world – of such situation and expressions – in social networking websites, where the long gone and forgotten reappear in your screen.
He might have been amused to see that the same expressions my uncles wore when news about the living were passed amongst themselves, when someone discovered someone else on the internet.
I imagine the ancient dead asking the newly arrived (or recently departed, in living terms) the very same questions I've exchanging with my kin and friends when I meet them for iftar/coffee/sahoor/dental checkup: "Who got married? Who's unhappy? How are they doing? Who has been blessed with a new child? Do you remember? How am I remembered?"
The thought brought me to the resolution that I want to live well or better, at least. So that when someone dies, they can pass news about my life with laughter; how I got up and down the goodness scale and eventually settled in semi-self-satisfaction-and-acceptance,
The thought that when I die might put me in a position where your family and friends expect news about you, made me wish that you'd live well, or better at least, so that the news I pass to them would lighten their deathly burden and flick that glimmer of hope that, through you, their lives did not got at all in vain.
I wish you well.