We buried my aunt last night. We weren’t very close, but she was a nice lady. She passed on in the afternoon, and we buried her by 22h00 the same evening in line with Muslim rites and customs. But like every funeral, I embraced the scent of camphor, probably more so than most would. We use camphor as an embalming agent to prepare the corpse for burial. So it’s always been a sobering reminder of the inevitable outcome of everything.
Sobering! That was the lingering feeling that stayed with me throughout last night, and today. And it lingers still. At times in my life I often visited the cemetery alone on cold nights. Sometimes, if not always, I felt a sense of belonging, probably from the knowledge that that will be the final abode despite our best efforts to prolong our avoidance of it. Last night was different.
Last night I made a feeble attempt to reflect on the sight of thousands of graves with their flaking lime-washed surrounds and the lives that were distilled into that piece of earth that didn’t care about their riches, their comforts, their legacies or their significance amongst men. It was cold to the touch, and lifeless. And the sense of belonging, or even yearning, escaped me. I felt dejected, not just in my own life any longer, but last night I felt dejected from the after life. Nothing offered me comfort or certainty, let alone peace.