Today is a day that I could never forget. At least, a portion of it is a memory that doesn’t fade. Death is something that we least anticipate, but can always expect it to happen sooner or later to those that we love.
Last year, I remember around this time I was preparing to meet with a friend who invited me to be a part of a podcast. I planned to do spoken word, so I had been practicing all week leading up to that moment. I’m remembering as I walked in the station, I sat in the waiting area and my nerves were jumping. It had been some time since I last performed, let alone read some of my poetry to people.
We were about 2 segments into the podcast and I remember being signaled that my slot was coming up soon. I was excited, yet a knot began to build up in my stomach all over again. That was until I saw my phone ringing. It was my little sister. A part of me wanted to call her back, but I answered. I stepped away for a second to answer my phone while we had a quick break for music time on the podcast. Upon my return, my body was trembling, there were tears in my eyes and the hosts could tell that there was something wrong. Naturally, I didn’t know what to do.
I wasn’t sure if I should remain professional and continue on with the show, or do I go home to my family after finding out this news. My grandmother had passed away. My mother’s mom was no longer with us.
When I heard the words break free through my sisters voice, I thought it was a joke. I wondered why anyone would play such a prank like that. But, it was real. I left the building. I was in such shock that I requested an Uber from New York City to Staten Island and paced the street back and forth until he arrived. I balled in the car. To put myself on public transportation and to have to sit and wait until I reached the nursing home, as if my grandmother would wait for me, I found myself unable to do that.
I remember trying to call my boyfriend (at the time) and he wouldn’t answer because he was out with friends. I called my best friend and she had to calm me down and talk me through it. I couldn’t understand how this was happening since, the last time I saw my grandmother, she seemed strong. She suffered from Dementia, among other issues that naturally come with age.
I reached the hospital and there they were. My family all surrounded around my grandmother’s body. I looked at her and I broke. I hugged her and held her and felt the greatest sense of peace towards the end of the night that she was okay. I felt as though everything she had been fighting internally, yet smiling through the pain, that was all for us. Though her memory started to drift away, she knew deep in her heart that she had a whole family rooting her on. But the peace that I felt, that came from knowing that she had to do this for herself. I knew that she must have been ready to let go of the fight so that she could go running through the sunflower and butterfly fields of Heaven with her mommy Rose, her sisters, her husband and other family members and friends who she often talked about as it came closer to the end.
I knew that she was at peace.
But, how do we accept that peace and apply it to ourselves?
How do we deal with death when life is so much easier to understand?
There is this negative notion that is connected with the idea of death. It’s more of a selfish trait when we fear someone we love dying before we’ve had enough time with them. But when is it ever enough? Why is the idea of losing someone, who suffers so much to survive, so hard for us to accept? Of course, an unexpected death is harder to deal with. Especially if it’s a wrong time, wrong place sort of situation. But, God has a plan for everything and He will protect us through the situation—as long as we are willing to trust Him.
I think a lot of us tend to lose our cool when it comes to death. We become angry with God. We want to understand why He would take someone away from us. But, have you ever had a “conversation” with someone and they’re just yelling and yelling and yelling at you, but you have yet to have a chance to get a word in? That’s sort of how we are with God when it comes to death.
We don’t want to hear anything. We’re not thinking logically. We’re not even thinking faithfully. God is the blame. But, He isn’t the blame, He is the cure and the way.
Earth is just a fragment of what our eternity will even look and feel like. We are not here forever. Though everything that we experience might feel like the toughest thing ever and we convince ourselves that it would last forever, that’s not the case.
So I just want to encourage you to be positive. Try to fill your mind with great memories that you’ve shared with your loved ones. Take photos and print them often so that you can hold onto them when your loved ones are gone.
Speak to friends, even a therapist if needed. It’s important not to hold everything inside. Trust me, it’ll make you crazy, angry or both. In reality, a lot of people go through a depression after they’ve lost relatives or partners who were closest to them. Whether that is you, or someone you know, make sure to seek outside help. A conversation can go a long way.
Find a new hobby. Perhaps something that they once loved.
Dedicate something to them or in remembrance of what they represented.
Though we don’t live forever, we can practice life after death by allowing the memory, ideas and practices of those we love to remain after they’re gone.
Today marks 1 year after my Grandma Louise passed away and I have felt her closeness and her love every day since. Keep them in your heart.