Do Not Stand At My Grave and Cry - an essay by Casey Burnett
Since the earliest that I can remember, I was always told that dying was a
good thing and that it meant that the person who had died had gone to a
better place. But I see no good in it. All I see are the tears from family
and friends who have lost someone that they loved very much. All I hear are
the screams of pain and sorrow for the loved one.
The first time I attended a funeral, I was in grammar school. It was for the
school nurse who died from cancer. I do not remember much about that day but
I do remember seeing her children and husband walking behind the casket as it
was being brought up. I remember seeing her only daughter cry with tears that
I had never seen before. And I recall sitting there thinking, "Why would God
do this to people? Doesn't he realize he is doing more harm than good?" But
he never answers back.
"God moves in mysterious ways," was always a favorite saying of my religion
teacher. She would always try to explain why God did what he did, but no one
ever fully understood her. We would go over and over the 'Our Father' looking
for answers. No one ever really got answer from it but the teacher liked to
believe she did.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In eighth grade, my best friend's father killed himself. He was a good
person, supported his family, and made sure his daughters went to the best
school with the best education. He gave his family everything, a house to
live in, clothes to wear, food to eat, and most, importantly love to last a
lifetime. But for some reason, his lifetime was cut short by his own will.
For months I tried to find some reason of why he would do such a thing. But
the only answer I could think of is that he was selfish. All he was thinking
about was himself. He didn't care about his family when he pulled the
trigger. He wasn't thinking of his daughters, who would never be the same.
But then I concluded that he wasn't thinking at all. Because if he was, he
wouldn't have killed himself and put his family through such a trying time.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Death is always occurring around us, but we never have our eyes open wide
enough to notice it. Leaves are always dying and falling off the trees and
left for others to rake them up without even paying their respects, deer are
always hit by cars and left on the side of the road like a tourist's
attraction for the next car to see, and animals are constantly becoming
extinct without people evening knowing what they looked like or their names.
And I don't think anyone of us actually thinks about nature as a living and
dying world just like people.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
People come and go, but memories are always living and stay with us forever.
Recently, I attended a funeral for my friend Joanna who passed away from an
illness and it wasn't until her funeral that I realized how many lives she
touched during her short life. She was only 16 years old and yet she touched
lives from children to elders who admired her perspective on life, even after
she got sick. For the funeral, I was asked to say a view words about my
friend. But I couldn't think of any words except for "Why?" I wondered why
did God pick my friend? Why not someone else? But I realized that God had a
reason for choosing my friend. Maybe it was because she was in too much pain
to continue through life, maybe it was because God needed company and she was
the best company one could ever have, or maybe it was because she
accomplished everything in life God had planned for her. But for whatever the
reason, she was gone. And she was never coming back.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The other day, I came across a poem that explains one person's out looks on
death. He wrote:
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond's glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripening grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush, of quiet birds in circle flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there;
I did not die.
For some reason, the poem gave me comfort. I found comfort in maybe knowing
that my friend's soul was in everything I saw, everything I touched, and
everything I smelled. I felt better knowing that she was always with me,
looking over me, even though she was in heaven. I felt happy in knowing that
she will never leave me and will be connected, in some shape or form, in
everything that crosses my path through life. And for once in my life, I
finally found inner peace.
This is an automatically-generated notice. If you'd like to be removed
from the mailing list, please visit the Medicine-On-Line Discussion Forum
at <http://www.meds.com/con_faq.html>, or send an email message to:
with the subject line blank and the body of the message containing the line:
unsubscribe mol-cancer your-email-address
where the phrase your-email-address is replaced with your actual email