LETTER | I was, I am and I will always be



LETTER | An aunt of mine passed away recently. She was an octogenarian, and passed away in a nursing home where she had been resident for some months due to practical reasons. 

She was relatively healthy for her age and more importantly she was still able to get around on her own unaided until she drew her last breath. Although we were never really close for many years now other than the odd visit, the sense of familiarity and the fact that she was there at a certain location and that her well-being was being taken care of seemed to me to suffice. 

It has occurred to me more than once, especially as age catches on, that the same situation can be applied to many other relatives, friends and acquaintances. 

Over the years it seems that I have been able to compartmentalise relationships, and that these compartments are on a conveyor belt that begins fresh in my mind, and then trundles along over time to ever deeper recesses of my brain. 

Presumably, each compartment will reach a storage destination somewhere in the mind’s vault with what I imagine to be an access and priority label for retrieval when the need and time arise. I say presumably because the mind is a strange creature; over time it can mellow like fine wine or it can wither like an unwatered indoor plant, neither of the options which one really has control over.

The Covid-19 pandemic has of course completely turned on its head the way we are able to conduct funerals, just as is the case for any function which involves many people getting together. 

So sending off a relative or friend for the last time and paying our respects by being present for the last rites or ceremony is not possible except for a very few members of the immediate family. 

Be that as it may, it does not stop us from retrieving that compartment stored in the mind and viewing in the mind’s eye the memories that we have of the newly departed person. View the memories in a favourable light as much as possible; perhaps we can honour them and pay our last respects this way, with pleasant memories.

In any case and for some reason unknown as yet, my mind has been triggered by this demise and I have written something which may perhaps call to me more than it does to others. 

Whether it brings comfort to anyone other than myself is another unknown but I wish that it may. As my favourite phrase goes, "hope springs eternal".

“The soul howls; am I dead, am I alive? From where have I come, and where am I going? Where are those who are familiar and dear; my husband, my wife, my sons, my daughters, my mother, my father....why am I alone, where are they?

"Why do I move onwards without my behest as to direction, what awaits me? Who will aid me in this darkness, where is the light? Wilderness, is this my darkest fear come to be? The unknown is upon me, neither hunger nor fear drives me, only a great drift lies before me. Nothing do I have except memories, even these wear thin, I cannot see and I cannot remember. Who am I, where do I go, and what will become of me?

"How I long for the peace of conviction, how I long for certainty of belief. That is but a distant dream now, for I move to a destiny that is foretold, but that is as yet unclear. Do I await a fate good or bad, what have I done in life, and what do I deserve?

"The answer seems to lie just ahead; I drift towards it, a tiny flicker of light in the vast of darkness. I feel something, a sense almost of relief, if indeed a soul can feel so. A sense of final freedom, a lifting of a lifetime of captivation, a wisp of cloud floating in the sky without a care in the world on a bright and sunny morning. No goodbyes, only new beginnings. I have been mortal but no more, my soul has found its purpose.

"I was, I am and I will always be.”

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.