Sunday, April 6, 2008

Life and Death

What you do when a person dear and near finds out she only has a few weeks, maybe only days to live? After living here for so many years, I have learned to appreciate the differences on how death, dying and grieving are seen in "la Isla" and here.

There, if you find out someone close to you is dying, you are bawling, crying your eyes out the whole time. Everything is so dramatic, so emotional.

Here, from what I have experienced, everything is so calm, very structured: you meet with doctors, therapists and social workers, you discuss how to manage the "end of life", and you get hospice care, either at home or at a facility.

There, I don't know any longer, but from what my friend Hilda in New Jersey told me, things continue to be the same. She had to make a quick, over-night trip to Puerto Rico to attend her granfather's funeral. Her granfather was somewhat of an icon in the area where he lived. So, there was music, drink, food, and his casket was tranported in a cart pulled by horses, and probably was followed by a group of woman howling behind, like it was described in Biblical times...

I wonder, how would that be perceived by those here who plan everything related to their death so systematically, so measured? It is a cultural shocker. I have seen both.

And yet...does it really matter? Does it make any difference at all? Is the grieving any different, or deep inside, do we all grieve the same, regardless of what we believe or where we come from.

The person dear and near to us is dying...we went to see her tonight. We know this was goodbye; I have been crying since I found out about it...I guess that part of me is still true to the place I come from...

1 comment:

shellsiesh88 said...

From my perspective, I think the funeral is different. It is more like a long ceremony. When my grandma passed away, we had her funeral in Mexico and it was so different than the funerals I've seen in Texas, US. I felt like we had more time to grieve and to embrace her death. I know my boyfriend was shocked whenever he saw a group of ladies crying loudly and saying out loud "rosarios". Nothing was planned but there was even mariachi playing her favorite song.