Sadness

Living on a small island over many years, married with children, enjoying getting out now and again to a market, or visiting friends, one lives a life quite different from any I knew stateside. In the states I might go to a funeral only once in a period of years. Sure, I was younger, my cohort was younger and healthier. I do teach statistics after all. I do understand the correlation of aging and passing away.

Somehow or another, out here one is more connected to more people. Coupled with funerals being a communal event, I find myself more often at funerals. The frequency makes them no easier, and is only a reminder of how close to not being here each of us really is. Emergency room doctors understand this better than most - in an instant you can be gone from your family and those who care about you.

A colleague and good friend has noted that if when you turn on the radio you do not hear the funeral song with your name mentioned, then you are still alive. The island is small enough that all funerals are announced on the radio with special music.

While passing is sad, tragic for the family, there is some comfort if the one lost lived a full and long life, enjoying grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. When the name is spoken on the radio there is a nodding of heads - ah, that great elder has gone ahead of us, bless their soul.

When one who is young and vibrant is suddenly gone, as if snatched away from us in the prime of their life, there is only shock and a sense of profound loss.

One yam...
... of many.
And even more pigs.
One king in place, a second en route.
Soumas en Dien, Pehleng, Kitti - one of the many village chiefs in attendance.
Soumas en Pahnais, Wone, Kitti.
Sakau stacked up from the very front and on out the back of the nahs.
At a time of such a vast loss the immediate family hosts a gathering of family, friends, colleagues, kings, and chiefs numbering in the hundreds.
A time of sad songs.
He is but a year younger than I, his wife was around and about the age of my wife.
There may be no immediate comfort, but there is always the next generation, ever hopeful, still resilient. In time those left behind turn their focus on their children.
And their children's children.

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