Sunday, February 06, 2005

Death for the Living

With things that have been going on lately I've been thinking about death. Not in a morbid sense, don't get me wrong. But I do think pondering death and preparing for it is important because we all face it.

I'm reading The Hereafter by Ayatullah Dastghaib Shiraazi. I like it better than Journey to the Unseen World because the latter's main aim seems to be to frighten whereas this one seems mor evenhanded. Lari's Resurrection Judgment & The Hereafter is also pretty good but not as much to the point as Shiraazi - I appreciate the conciseness. It also has done a good job of explaining Barzakh - the time after death but before the Day of Judgment. I recommend the book to anyone curious on the subject; the Khoei Center Online Library has it. I thought to myself if I have children someday I would read to them about these things even when they're young; not in a way to scare them, but I think it is very important stuff to know and keep in mind. Plus it would do me good to reread it now and then to reset priorities.

Today I visited dad at the hospital. I guess he'd been pretty awake yesterday but today he was totally out. Tomorow they're supposed to take him off the ventilator and he'll breathe on his own or if he can't do that well enough they'll do a tracheotomy, or so one of the doctors said but a nurse said something different. So I am hopeful we'll see more change for the positive this week, insha'allah.

Then my brother and I went to the viewing for Scott Hulen, his neighborhood childhood friend who committed suicide last week. Jeff is supposed to be a pall bearer tomorrow. He was not up to really looking at the body. I went to look at it, and Scott looked very fake because they had so much makeup on him. His eyes were closed but they didn't look right either, I'm guessing because he had shot himself in the temple and it probably messed up his eye. I feel so angry that Scott did this to his family and friends. I'm sorry that whatever was wrong he didn't get help and stay around for his family and loved ones.

While I was there I was thinking about this strange ritual of viewing the body. Some families do it and some others don't. I wonder if the purpose is for people to see him one last time and say good-bye, or morbid curiosity, or both. I wonder if Scott's soul was hanging around his body and listening to all the people talk and if he was regretting what he'd done but now can't undo. Islamic rituals seem to be about getting the body in the ground as quickly as possible, but many cultures delay the burial.

I take some comfort in the ideas that our deeds and prayers for loved ones in the time after their deaths can be helpful to them and comforting to them, and I also found it interesting that they do come around us in a manner of speaking during Barzakh.

I have a huge graduate school thing due this week and I'm still not very far on it. I will need to take a sub day to finish it I guess. I'm thinking Tuesday, insha'allah, since it is due Wednesday. I talked to my advisor and moved up the date of my last class so I am excited to say I should be finished with my Master's Degree June 8 and then have most of the summer without having to worry about it.

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