Death is one of those tricky topics.
It isn’t easy to deal with or talk about. No one wants to experience loss.
It doesn’t seem to me to “get better” with time – you just kind of learn how to deal with the pain, the emptiness and emotions.
In the medical field you lose a patient and it doesn’t get easier the more patients you lose. Every single one of them leaves an imprint on you. You think back to moments you shared with them, their personalities… each one of them had a story. A woman who survived cancer. The man who lived through the holocaust. The man that broke his hip, fought cancer, survived a stroke and then after losing his wife died in his sleep.
Sometimes you’re lucky and you just read or hear of their passing and you can imagine it happening in a peaceful way but then there are times when you’re there and you don’t forget a single moment.
The moment you get called in, seeing their face change to a dim grey’ish blue. You watch their expression freeze. You call out orders, drop to their level and work. You work and use every bit of knowledge you have, you count every single minute and then it’s over. Just like that the fight to save them ends.
All they’ve been through in life is just a memory left for their loved ones.
Some patients are already older and alone while others have kids or a spouse they’ve been with for 50+ years. Family and friends are in another space and have no idea of the news they’re going to receive.
You may not know every patient or share a bond with them but each one is a life. Every one has a history, someone they love or someone that loves them. Every single loss reminds you that life comes to an end eventually or abruptly.
Then there’s the loss of friends and family or the death of a pet. This hurts you.. deeply but it’s a pain that’s very hard to explain unless you’ve lived through it yourself.
I remember losing a friend a few years ago. She was so young, before her 20s, with an entire life to live and one night it was all taken from her.
It ended and all that was left was the beauty she left behind in pictures and the smile she left in our hearts. I remember how it made me feel as if it was yesterday. She didn’t see me often but she always showered me in compliments when she did. Her soul was pure and kind and her energy was contagious. Her smile incredible. She was so adorable and sweet and God was she young. It never made sense to me, really it still doesn’t – why she was taken from this world, why she couldn’t grow up and experience this life like the rest of us.
Or back when I was 6 waking up and being held back from walking into my grandparents bedroom – everyone telling me it’s okay.
It will be alright. But I knew it wasn’t. I remember every waking moment of that day. God how it hurt. The pain has never gone away. Writing these words almost seems to make it just a little worse. Just bringing myself back to that day makes the tears stream.
I remember them carrying him out of the house and everyone leaving with him except my grandmother and I. She stayed home with me and told me it would all be okay but I think she was trying more to convince herself then 6 year old me.
The door opened and they said I’d never see him again, that grandpa was gone now. I’ll never forget throwing myself on the couch, kicking and screaming. He was my person. How could my person be gone. But I was a kid, how much could I possibly understand about death and moving on, right? I’d wake up in a few days and be back to playing outside, right? – Well now I’m 26, 20 years later and God do I still miss that man. His presence is so hard to forget. I don’t want to forget.
I wanted him to play the piano one more time, to put me on his lap and rock with me in his big leather chair. I wanted him to walk around outside, to take pictures, to smile at me. I wanted to touch his perfectly white hair again and to curl up in his arms. He was the man in my life that I needed most and being 6 years old you’d think I’d find peace, but instead it hurts and thinking about him too long I still cry. There’s still a hole in my chest. A piece of me is still missing. I still wonder how different things would be if I had more time to make him proud. He was supposed to watch me grow. But his heart was weak and his time was up.
My godfather also passed but this time I was 21 and having a full understanding on death at this point, you’d think it would of shattered me or that maybe by now I would of learned a better way to make peace with it, but that wasn’t the case. He was young – early 50s and instead it made me silent, I was in denial.
My mom told me he was sick, something was wrong. They took him to the hospital, they don’t know what’s wrong. There wasn’t many updates. I was quiet. I didn’t want to be afraid of losing him because I thought it would only bring him closer to
death to think that way. Instead I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t want updates – I just wanted to know when it was over and he was okay and back home. He was young. He was a business man and has a family and he’s so full of life. He’ll be okay.
My mom told me about the calls from back home how they saw good signs, he was waking up. Things were coming together. Then it was over.
He died. Suddenly.
Out of the blue and with no definitive medical explanation he was gone. It had been about 3 years since I last saw him and a month away from his usual birthday phone call to me. He was supposed to call – he was supposed to talk to me and see me at my next visit home. He was supposed to show me off and come back to the states when I fell in love because he said he wouldn’t miss my wedding for the whole world. He was proud to be apart of my life. He was honored to be my godparent. To be the back up plan from God to my parents – should it be necessary and I couldn’t even bring myself to tears.
Then I stepped to his grave about 2 years later and boy did they stream. God did the hurt hit me hard. What I wouldn’t do to bring him back… bring him back to his wife, his kids, his grand kids – bring him back to me…
You see the thing about funerals and death, they bring out the most selfish parts of us and human nature. We don’t want to see a person go. We want them here for us and the world.
We question God and the universe.
We stray from prayer. We see little to believe in with people being taken from us.
I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with the losses I’ve experienced, whether it be those closest to me or people in passing. Death is something I can’t stand to deal with.
The emptiness it creates. The memories it leaves me with. The images of something that once was, but can never be again.
It’s inevitable and it’s dark. It’s the worst version of heartbreak in my opinion because we can’t drive by or log on to social media to see that person smile, to know they are okay. We can’t bring them back with a prayer or apology.
All we can do is believe and be grateful that they are now with us throughout the universe no matter where life brings us.
You just have to be happy with the peace they have eternally and just move forward. Push through everyday and believe it’s what they would of wanted for you.
But God I wasn’t ready and never again will I ever be. May I always just find the strength to push forward.