Panama 2019 Day 11: How We Deal with Death

I had just returned from my November 2018 visit to Panama when Minga died. I thought long and hard about whether to turn around and go back, and in the end decided not to. My being here would have been good for some of her grieving family, clearly. But I’m here now, and in turn, almost all of Minga’s family members have taken time to sit with me quietly and at length and recount their experience of their mother’s death. Too much was likely happening during her actual funeral for that to have happened. And perhaps they needed a bit of time to enter this reflective stage.

Speaking of one’s experience of loss is a part of dealing with death that crosses cultures. I recall clearly reciting over and over what happened when my late husband Jerry died, until I no longer had the need to do so.

Minga’s adult offspring need to do it now, and I am blessed and honored and touched to be the listener, to bear witness.

8 thoughts on “Panama 2019 Day 11: How We Deal with Death

  1. for Phyllis: In the end, I think so. It was certainly right for me. That 20 hour return trip just about did me in, and the thought of getting on an airplane to Panama again right away just wasn’t in the cards.

  2. Understand. Last year when we were in Cayman got a call from wife of Bob’s college roommate to let us know he had died. She, George, and Bob all went to UD and we would “double date” when I would go out for Homecoming. George, like Bob, was a corporate gypsy and we visited each other whoever we were. They were even in KC at the same time we were. The retired to Dayton where Linda was from. They had no children. He had been ill, but we met them for dinner in D.C. In November of 2017 when they were enroute to Hihlton Head. He didn’t look his best, but seemed okay. Therefor we were totally unprepared for her call. We got funeral details and said we would be there. She said, “Please don’t”. I will have no time to visit with you and I want to do that. Could you come later.” We said that we would and we went out in May. We had a meaningful time, talking about George and our times together over the years. We even went to a favorite restaurant in Dayton where we had gone as a foursome many times. We visited his grave and talked to her about his death and her “new normal.”
    I think your being there now is better, just as our decision to not attend the funeral was better.

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