I am way to young to have lost this many people. Loss has been heavy on my mind after the loss of a friend recently. I started questioning why this was such a heavy feeling, and then it occurred to me... because it is so many. My parents talk about death as just a normal progression at their age. They are in their 70's. I am surrounded by death in my profession, which I think takes some of the sting out of it sometimes. A equally aged friend was reflecting on how few people she had lost in her lifetime and it became a curious question why I have lost so many.
As a child I lost a normal amount of the great grandparents and the grandparents that I never new. Then when I was 15 a close friend committed suicide. This is the first time that I tasted death and its bitterness. I felt it for what it was. A life ceased. Years stolen and experiences never to be. We were left with so many questions, questions that linger still today 20+ years later.
Later that year I lost my Grandma. She was an amazing woman. She wasn't a grandma like I think many know their grandma. I didn't spend a lot of time with her, nor did we know each other very well. But she was the only grandma I had ever known and she was an extraordinary woman. We honored her memory by caring on her name with our daughter's middle name.
Many years past with maybe a scattering of death's. Periphery people, or cousins I never knew. Sad the same, but not life altering.
When I was a young married woman a man who filled in some fatherly holes passed away. I was his cub. We spent hundreds of hours together, sometimes in silence, sometimes making conversation to pass the time. Always with deep respect and admiration. He loved me as a granddaughter he hadn't had yet, and he understood undesirable parts of my childhood like no one else could have. I still feel his presence from time to time. On the year anniversary of his death we found our first home that we bought. We have been happy here. We have been content here. This home has been more than a shelter, it has been a safe haven and has blessed us. I feel his presence here, still loving on me and mine from beyond.
When my Grandfather passed away, it was an end of my grandparent generation. He was a amazing man whom I was blessed to get to know in a way I never expected, and share sweet memories that I don't believe any of the other grandchildren got to see. I have regrets that I couldn't be there more at his end, but if anyone wouldn't want me to be sorrowful it would be him. What's done is done, and when your dead your dead. Thanks Grandpa. I can still smell you and feel your embrace when I think of you.
My husband's grandparents always treated me as a grandchild and not a wife of a grandson. After my grandfather died, my relationship with them became even more important. I loved my husbands grandma. She was a little woman in physicality, but so strong in presence. We were so blessed to be such a big part of her passing. It was one of the most beautiful death's I have ever seen. Surrounded by loved ones. All of her children, their spouses and most of her grandchildren crammed into one room, we stood guard as she took her last breaths. She struggled so much at the end of her life and it was so peaceful to see her be at peace.
It is one thing when an older person dies. It is sad and you miss them and it is hard to move on without them in your life, but their isn't the questions and regret of a life unlived as it is when it is a young person. Especially one who dies at their own hands. Lizeth was a coworker that I didn't know well. But we had children similar ages and had a quick bond because of that. We worked together most shifts and she quickly became one of my favorite CNA's. I was standing in the middle of the produce isle when I got the call that she had died at her own hands. I have come to terms with her death, but I am still not ok with it. We had one conversation that I can still hear in my head, and I will forever remember. Her presence will always be felt when I hear this one song. I will keep her children close in thoughts and prayers knowing they will grow without knowing their mother.
Eric. Eric's death came as a huge surprise. He was bigger than life. Had a smile that would light up a room. I feel richer for having known him. Eric was a dear friend to my husband. He was the best man in our wedding. He was taken to young, 36. Cancer is an unfair diagnosis, and an evil disease. I will forever remember his laugh, and remember how he made you feel. Loved.
My sweet Terri. Terri past away the day after Christmas. Her body was done. I am so grateful her pain is over, and she doesn't have to live long enough to experience arthritis and what it would be like to live with full time care. Terri and I were friends for 16 years. We met when we were both young and vibrant. She stood by my side through the most tumultuous years of my life. Boyfriends, heartbreaks, husbands, weddings, babies. She was a wonderful woman who was so full life and happiness. Her smile melted all of your cares away and her laugh... My life is far richer for have known her. She has had a lifelong impression on my family, my children. I am at peace with my last days with her. I brought her comfort and rest, we laughed and cried, and she knew I loved her.
I think that this is an unnatural amount of people, close people, who I have lost in my short 37 years of living. Maybe it seems compounded with all of the other periphery people, and patients that I have had to grieve. I don't know exactly what the afterlife holds but I do know that those who have faith in something bigger than themselves have an easier time letting go of their earthly body. I know those who had some sort of a relationship with God still speak to me and help guide me. I feel their presence. Death is just one more stage of life, perhaps the last stage that we see, but I am hopeful that because these people lived and live on in my memory, the world will never be without their lessons because they live on through me.