(trigger warning: this post discusses loss and grief)
Last year, a great family friend of ours passed away. I think that was the first time that death has hit me hard in my life. Our friend was only in his early 30s and he was the last person we thought we would lose. Before that, I had only seen how death affects people; people like my mother, father, and people that I have dated. The main thing that I noticed about how death affects us is our memories. We usually just remember the good times and the good things about the person until we forget that these people were also human. It takes a while to realize that these people that we loved and lost were not perfect. Sometimes, we even idolize them and try to live our lives for them. I am not saying whether that’s good or bad. Keeping one’s legacy is a great thing to do but I think we should never try to measure ourselves in their eyes. We all want to make our family and friends proud whether living or not. However, we should not pressure ourselves to meet a level of perfection that even those who have passed could not meet. I’ve been watching the Kanye West documentary and one of the quotes I remember him saying is “the only thing that is guaranteed in one’s life is death”. We are all going to die one day so make sure you are living your life in a way that makes you happy. Because truth be told, you are the most important person in your life. Even if you have kids, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
So how did death affect me? I fell into the same pattern that I noticed from others who have encountered loss. I thought about the things I could have done differently. I also started to perceive the deceased friend as perfect. Later I realized that even if the dead become angels in their transition from life to death, they were imperfect humans while they were living. This means they made mistakes just like us and trying to live perfectly for them is impossible because we are just human beings. Bringing this back to the Kanye West “Jeen-Yus” documentary, I think it is good for us to acknowledge that death is inevitable and appreciate the great things that people have done. However, let us not idolize anyone. The people who passed away lived their life the way that they saw fit and so should you. Appreciate them for living their best life by living your best life. Make mistakes just as they did and don’t obsess over them. Do the best you can for yourself. Make yourself proud! Because in your last moments on this earth, you’ll be looking at your life through your eyes; walking through the tunnels of your memories, and trying to find the inevitable light.
To end this on a lighter note, life is a gift. One that we have to cherish, treasure, and be grateful for because it is not guaranteed. Let us all take moments to celebrate our lives just as much as we try to celebrate the lives of those we have lost. Cheers to more life, more love, more peace, and more happiness in the world! ❤