The dying game

Life is a funny thing. When you’re a child you want to grow up. When you grow up, you wish you were a child again. Even if the option were available, I don’t ever want to be a child again. I’ve made enough mistakes and enemies and I don’t want to double those numbers. There are things that I would have done differently for sure, but I know that if I had made different choices, the life I have now would not exist. I love my life because of what I’ve built with my wife and sons.

I’m also at a stage in life where the people I grew up with, shared time with and made memories with are dying either suddenly or for health reasons. It’s an odd thing. Growing up I was exposed to death at an early age. My very first recollection of attending a funeral is still a rather ethereal experience for me. I know I was there, I knew the person well, and yet I can’t recall feeling much emotion despite the circumstances.

I’ve always been fascinated with death. I’ve never had a desire to die but I know it happens to all of us. Some sooner than others. And whenever someone I know dies, it affects me deeply. Maybe its because I’ve always been sentimental. I keep everything that has any shred of nostalgia. But my fascination with death has a lot to do with what people do here in life, and what happens to our spirits when we’re no longer walking the earth.

Whether it was by accident or natural causes I miss them. We cherish thoughts and remembrances. I have a firm faith and belief that I will see them all again one day, but that doesn’t make losing them easier.

Just last night I heard of yet another dear friend and family member who has passed on at such a young age. Anetta Mauigoa was a bright, vibrant girl who had a wonderful smile. I last saw her some 25 years ago. I never once saw her angry or upset and she was never mean-spirited towards anyone. I’m sure that there were times she felt those emotions. After all, we’re all prone to human error and failings. But I was fortunate to never see that side of her if it existed.

A few years back another friend, Iamafana “Fish” Lameta was taken so suddenly from the world. He was an intimidating presence, but he loved people. He had so much compassion for others. Kurt Fatupaito was shaped in the same mold. A great boxer, but you never would have known it because he never imposed his will on others. He always spoke about the good things in people and was cautious in his relationships with his friends because he valued them so much.

There are more like these in the archives of my mind. People whom I shared a common bond with and whose friendship I treasure.

Isn’t it great being around people like that? I enjoy conversations and interactions with people who have a genuine concern for your well-being. It gives me motivation to reciprocate, pay-it-forward. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own junk that we look past the hardships and trials that are suffered by others. Annetta, Fish and Kurt were unlike most of us. In all of my interactions with  them, they gave of themselves easily and never asked for recompense.

My subordinate emotion relating to death is an innate desire to be remembered when I’m gone. When my body returns to the earth and my spirit has joined those whom I look forward to reuniting with, what will those who remain think of my tenure? Will people remember me in the same way as I remember my friends who have gone before me? Or will their recollections of me be less flattering? Less admirable? Will I be forgetful?

I’m in a somber mood.

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