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At the death of my maternal grandmother: anti-obituary | Ideas


On October 18, Colin Powell – a former United States secretary of state and military terrorist group – died of complications related to coronavirus.

The next day, while I was busy writing Al Jazeera’s article “Stop being polite – Colin Powell was a murderer”, my grandmother Anne died of coronavirus in Florida.

And as with Powell, I saw no need to talk.

My grandmother had less power during her time on earth than she did the head of state. He did not contribute to the deaths of thousands in Iraq, nor did he lead the 1989 riot of the poor Panamanian El Chorillo – until local ambulance drivers began calling the site “Little Hiroshima”.

However, he managed to inflict serious damage on the people living in his small country, mentally, and physically.

For example, during my mother’s teenage years, an error she or any of her four siblings felt would cause all five of them to walk around as Anne snatched them away with a dog rope.

My mother who remembers the past and had a bloody nose with the permission of Anne’s fist, when an incident involving a pig bank that had been knocked down caused a belt to be whipped which made it impossible to stay without a pillow for several days.

When her children were not to be the target of cruel and insolent sexual behavior, they were about to take care of themselves, since Anne often had to deal with younger men. My mother moved into my grandmother’s house at the age of 17 to go to university – a different Anne who is known for biting my mother’s nose and gritting my teeth.

The last time I met Anne was when I was 11 years old, she was very religious. Trying to clean up her life did not stop her from pushing her older aunt down the stairs and breaking her hips – an incident that made her reluctant to continue paying for Anne’s television shopping routine.

Also, claiming to be Anne’s closeness to God would not have prevented her from threatening her daughter – my mother’s sister – with a gun. As I can see in my book Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World, the gun was confiscated by Florida officials but returned to my grandmother, thus supporting the right of US citizens to the military.

After receiving news of the death of Anne-by-coronavirus in Tallahassee, I was in the magical town of Gjirokastër, Albania – the most recent place on my world tour that began almost two decades earlier after I left the United States in search. , I think, about places and people who felt more at home than in our own homeland.

There was another socially motivated hope, naturally, that I should feel something about the death of such a close relative, and I looked on Facebook as members of my mother’s family launched a memorial service for Anne in death.

And yet I didn’t hear anything.

In his book The Nature of Grief: The Evolution and Psychology of Reactions to Loss, psychology professor John Archer quoted a letter from Charles Darwin of 1843 to his grieving cousin: the most honorable of love. human nature and absence are the impossible. ”

Darwin went on to urge his cousin to console himself with the idea that “your grief is the most important birthright. . .

But should we feel too much of a burden as a failure because of not having “deep love” for those who have died in recent times?

In the case of Colin Powell, it is not surprising to mourn politicians who have brought grief to the world. In the case of my grandparents, at the time, I really liked not to feel sorry for them but a sick group that encouraged such people – and a country that loves to spend money on bombing and hurting other people than, say, give. adequate mental health and other health care for its people.

Why not disprove the notion that the dead are to be honored even if they did not do anything to honor the living? Honest readings and personal entries – which also need to be considered in social media – are not only closely related to the concept of hagiography, they can offer a better and clearer closure than a call to wrong and distorted ideas.

And while it is certainly easier said than done, it can sometimes be enough to just say: “Good luck”.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the changing nature of Al Jazeera.


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