Friday, October 1, 2010

Dealing With It...Death, That Is

Jane's comment on my last post stuck a chord with me.
She said...

I've never ever experienced the death of a loved one. I'm lucky to have all 4 of my grandparents still around, and my greatest fear in the world is that one day they won't be here. In fact, my greatest fear is just death in general. I'm terrified of losing someone as I have no idea how I'll cope with it. I've loved reading your beautiful, moving posts about your uncle and nanna, and I hope that in some way, they've helped in the grieving process for you.

It must feel really weird to not have grandparents around anymore. I must say though, if I can get to 41 and still have ANY of my grandparents alive, I'll be so happy - if we're being honest, I don't think any of them will be around in 21 years... sad, but that's life, I guess. I just hope they get to see me get married and have a baby one day. If they can just get that far, then I think I'd be happy.

I remember feeling exactly the same way.

I have very specific memories...
...watching my Nan struggling to carry a bucket on the farm
...hearing that Grandma's cancer had returned
...just wanting my Grandma to live to see the daughter that I wanted to name after her...
and being hit with the shocking realization, "What will I do when they're gone?"

I, like Jane, hadn't lost a single family member, until I was 36*.
Now I have lost four in just over five years.
It doesn't really feel like they're gone.
Well it does, but it doesn't feel like they've disappeared.
They're still around, just in a different way.
In memories, in photographs, in the way I feel.
But the answer to my question to myself, "What will I do when they're gone?" is...
I will feel incredibly sad,
I will cry a lot and at any and no particular time.
The smallest things will trigger a memory that either makes me smile, brings on tears, or both.
Like when I'm sitting at the hairdressers and catch a glimpse of my blue eyes in the mirror, blue eyes just like Grandma's.
There's a lump in my throat and holes in my family but I still go on.
And I am so grateful for having had them in my life.
I still talk to them like they can hear me in my head but I'm not crazy and I do believe I will see them again some day.
Losing loved ones has made me stronger in a sense.
In the same way that I felt stronger after getting married and giving birth to my children.
They are life's major milestones. You never know how you'll feel about them until they've happened to you.
You are still the same but a little bit changed.
You have new insights and see things with new perspectives.
Death is part of our human existence.
And I do have faith in an afterlife and being reunited.
But it still scares me.
It's what we all fear most, isn't it?
(Apart from public speaking, apparently.)
What I'm most afraid of now is losing someone closer...
a parent
a sibling
my spouse
my children

What would I do without them?
How would I cope?

I guess you just do, because you have to.
It's all you can do, there is no option.

OK, enough!
I promise now to close the book on this topic...
or I shall have to change the name of my blog to 'The Death Cronicles'

*Apart from my Great-Grandfather when I was around 8, I think.


  1. Another beautiful post. Let's just say that I'm definitely not looking forward to that lump-in-my-throat moment when I have to remember my grandparents, rather than be able to just pick up the phone and call them for a chat xx

  2. I know, I know, I know. Me too ... It just doesn't bear thinking about does it? Hugs ...


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