Last week I attended a funeral of the father of a friend of mine here in Abu Dhabi. When I got the news of his death on WhatsApp from another friend, it was late at night and I said a prayer. It was the natural reaction. The next day, the day of the funeral, I called my friend and offered my condolences. So far it seemed like the normal, regular thing to do. You know, you hear about someone’s death and you express condolences. End of story, right?
Just before my son and I left to attend the funeral, I had a very deep thought and reflected on the fact that given my age I had not attended that many funerals in life. I found that somewhat disturbing, but not in a negative way. It was not surprising because we have moved many miles away from our homes and many more lives away from people. When I say we, I don’t just mean we, I mean we as in our generation. We are more migratory now and the global opportunities take us from one place to another.
That distance is a huge factor in being away from and sharing the two most dynamic events in human history: life and death.
The social media is wonderful at masking your happiness and sadness all at the same time and I have never appreciated that.
Reflecting back onto the funeral, I can safely say that had we lived in the same area as much as we have lived, I would have seen many more and participated in as many funerals. It is something I have “missed.” Why? Because death reminds us that we are all mortal and our mortality is what keeps us going and close to each other, physically, and closer to the Almighty.
Nowadays death is experienced on silver screen, on the tube and on social media. Seldom do you have the fortune to personally attend a funeral and have a chance at burying a person. These chances don’t come as often.
For my son it was his first funeral. I shared with him as much as I could about death, funerals and the proceedings.
As an example, week before last, my aunt died in another country. How did I find out about it? Facebook. How did I react? Same as what I have described earlier.
We keep connecting to each other online more than ever, and yet we are more disconnected from each other than ever.
Death reminds you of that!