Friday, December 11, 2009

Diary from Guyana – What We Have in Common

By Celia Shortt
In Guyana

Cultures all over the world have one thing in common, death. It might seem kind of morbid to be talking about death, but discovering this commonality taught me a valuable truth about what people all over the world share.

Recently, a friend and coworker of mine lost someone in her family. The day it happened, we were busy making plans for the evening and looking forward to the weekend when her phone rang. It’s always like that, no matter where you are. You’re going about your business, living your life when the hammer falls and life is suddenly never the same. I mean, we were on our way out the door, getting ready to call the taxi when she got that phone call saying that something was wrong. She received the final word that he had passed away when we were in the car on the way to her house.

In less than 20 minutes, normal life had been shattered. Our evening and weekend plans were no longer on our minds. Instead, my friend was sitting there in shock, and I was praying that everything would be okay.

In does not matter what continent you’re on or from, death affects all of us the same way. Its sudden and unannounced presence hits all of our lives and changes them forever. No person on Earth can escape any of that. We will all face it, and we will all be hurt by it.

I wish I could say that this story had a happy ending. I visited my friend’s family about a week after the death occurred. They are all hurting, but they are surviving. They are moving on from what happened and are trying to heal. Like at home, I feel useless with this type of situation. I never really know what to say or do. Even in this country, just like at home, that does not matter. All I can do is be there and support them.

I am farther away from any familiarity than I have ever been, but the longer I am here, the more I realize that there are fundamental aspects of life that every culture and country faces. I think we all have more in common than we realize.

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