I know what you’re thinking. I couldn’t come up with a better title? Anything more original? Nope. My post today is something a little outside the framework of what I usually write about. While this is a pretty personal post for me it was inspired by recent experiences my friends have had. Today, I have decided to post about the different emotions faced when a loved one passes away.
My first experience with death came in eighth grade. While I had two months to prepare for my grandfathers passing, it hit me like a high speed train. After his passing I told myself a million times over that he was comfortable now, no longer sick and always watching over me. For me, I not only like, but need to believe that there is a life after death. I need to believe that I am being watched over and someone is looking out for me. I realize not everyone understands this or feels this way but it is a much needed coping mechanism for me. As an eighth grade girl it was beyond heartbreaking to see my Dad, his brothers, my older cousins and my Nana crying. I feel so lucky to have had the innocence of not dealing with death until eighth grade because that is exactly what it is. For me, that first death of a loved one was the cold, harsh realization of the real world and how difficult it can be.
The passing of a grandparent is never easy, but easier. I can say this in confidence because from a young age we know that at some point we are all going to pass away. We understand that sickness and old age result in death and that, is the circle of life.
What about when you are faced with an untimely death? Recently I have watched two friends lose family and friends to car accidents. Something that can’t be planned for. Just a piercing, unimaginable phone call, usually at an ungodly hour followed by an earth shattering, confusing pain.
My first experience with untimely death- it’s August 15th it at 1:14 in the morning. I was watching Wedding Crashers in bed anticipating the start to my senior year of high school in just two weeks. As I start to get sleepy I check my twitter (on my silver verizon enV.. I wasn’t allowed to be online with it. oops!) one final time before I drift off to sleep. I see a tweet which read “RIP wolfie” WHAT? what is my crazy friend Brendan up to now? He must have fallen skateboarding again and broken some bone. Jeez I hope he’s okay. I keep scrolling and I see another one. This time from my friend Sarah. And then another, and another.
My stomach drops, my heart starts beating out of my chest and the temperature seems to rise a hundred degrees in the matter of seconds.
I called Sarah, her voice shakey when she finally manages “hello?” “What happened to Brendan?” I fired off. “He passed away” Sarah responded. (I took a deep breath in and my world began to spin.) “How?” I asked reluctantly, but I knew. I knew he was unhappy and I knew he had been in a tough spot. Never did I think he would act on it. “He killed himself, Shan” she said in a voice I can’t describe. She knew she was delivering news that would alter my life for good.
I’m not entirely sure if I said good bye before hanging up the phone or if I just hung up, in any case my world would never be the same.
The next few days I spent waiting for my jokester friend to jump out from behind a bush or something with a devlish smile announcing it was all a joke. That moment never came. The wake came and went and it was a numb feeling like nothing I could ever imagine.
After his death, friends and family were trying to comfort me in telling me “everything happens for a reason.” While I knew they were just trying to help me cope with a difficult situation this statement made me so angry. There was NO reason someone should pass away by their own hand. Especially not a seventeen year old that so many had so much love for. What reason could there possibly be? It was senseless and wrong.
Fast forward three years and here I am. I’m strong, I love more than I ever did before, I make decisions based on the knowledge that I am going to pass away some day,I appreciate the little things and I do what I can to give everyone a smile.
For anyone coping with a loss, some which will see this post when things calm down for them, know that even if it isn’t clear and if it takes a while to realize, everything does happen for a reason. Also know there are people that want to help in any way they can and it is okay, actually encouraged, to cry whenever you feel necessary.
I know this post is sad, but that wasn’t my intention. I am hoping it provides comfort to one or another at some point. If you have made it this far- congratulations and thank you for reading!