As I walk through this grief journey, I am faced with the questions of life and death. How do you cope everyday? How do you wake up? The answer is simple, I don’t know. It’s been 23 months now and I just do.
Tonight, I talked with my amazingly strong sister. She is currently helping her father in law going through hospice. They chose to take him home and help him keep his dignity in his journey to the end of his life. Listening to her describe his failing body and mind hurts my heart.
This conversation morphed into a discussion of what happens in the end. We, as humans, only have two ways out. To go quickly or to fade away. She pointed out that when someone goes quickly in a traumatic event that person is spared pain. The ones who remain are left to shoulder the whole painful burden without them. When they fade away, the person and those who love them share in the desperation and pain of realizing the end is near. The person dying has no control of their journey and neither do the loved ones. They share in constant worry that this is the last moments they will share. They have the honor and privilege of shared memories and goodbyes at the price of excruciating pain.
Neither way is better or worse, it’s just what it is in the end. Death is inevitable but it comes as a surprise whether it’s fast or slow. It comes with extreme pain no matter what the process. Whether you lose a child, spouse, parent or any other special person to you, you lose a piece of yourself. You lose the memories that you could’ve had with them. You can’t hug, laugh, smile, fight, make up, sing or dance with them.
In the end, death is a loss. No scorecard for who has a worse story. No judgement on how you feel. It’s just excruciating pain and loss.
Remember that life is fleeting. Each moment of everyday make the best of it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Hug and say I love you often. Dance in the living room. In the end, those memories are all that will carry you through as you walk your walk with grief.