Saturday, October 06, 2007

Grim's Keeper

My experience with death is not an unfamiliar one though it has always been pretty confined and limited. I know of the sadness, the anger, the torment, and that divided decision of not knowing whether to laugh out the anguish tearing up one's internal being or to cry until tears itself go out of vogue. The gnawing sense of loss and guilt pepper the mind -- particularly when we realize that we could have spent more time with the person whilst the time and company still mattered. It has always been like that, no? That regret always comes through last. And neither can any of us say that we never saw it coming.

Being the youngest one in my family, I am painfully aware that the likelihood of me having to witness the deaths of all my family members is paramount -- unless, of course, a simple twist of fate dictates otherwise. Truly, it is something that I dread and it is a thought that I always try to push to the back burner. As a child, I never had a pet. I never had the chance to form any sorts of attachment with a life form that I have raised and been responsible for and then suddenly losing him or her. I've always counted myself lucky. The only real time that I've had to deal with death's cold blow was during my grandfather's sudden passing away some fifteen years ago. It caught all of us off guard and just like that... he was gone. I wasn't young then, but neither was I old enough to really fathom the situation and to take it all in. I remember seeing my grandmother absolutely shattered and I also remember fervently wishing I would never have to know how it is to be in her shoes.

Yesterday, I felt the world move under my feet. I received a gruesome text message from my mother who conveyed that she had just brought my grandmother to the hospital -- to the ICU ward. She apparently was suffering from chest pains and is dangerously close to having a heart attack. She has to be monitored for a few nights and only God knows what will happen. Within a millisecond, I called on every saint that I know and begged the high heavens for pity and to bide my grandmother more time. That was when I realized how badly I will deal with losing her.

Unfortunately, it is common knowledge that death is required in the natural order of life. I never had any problems with the concept of death -- as long as it didn't happen to anyone close to me. I read and hear about loads of people dying everyday with terrorist attacks, wars, bird flu, AIDS, name it. But the thing is, all these people are faceless and nameless to me. I may have contracted the arrogance and overconfidence that none of these will happen to my loved ones, therefore saving me from grief and agony. And then one day, life creeps up unexpectedly and gives me the most sobering wake-up call known to man. It can happen to anyone and it will. And guess what? There is absolutely nothing that I can do about it but to stand back, watch and accept it. Just like that. To accept the permanence of loss. Of death.

There really is no way to prepare for death and losing a loved one, is there? Given that, is it better to know that one only has so much time left in this world... or not? Really, how superficial are we all to only spend time with our loved ones only when we know we won't be able to anymore in the near future? Again, guilt or regret? Our fabulous friends that we only see at the end of the line.

It is indeed a very humbling experience having to deal with death. No matter how much we have achieved and garnered in our lives, and no matter how well we've done, it will all be stripped off from us and we start from where we began. Nothing. What matters is how we'll be remembered and how clean our conscience is that we may be allowed to take on the next step -- whatever it may be. We get so caught up with having to live life and we often forget that it all ends one day.

Sure, live life to the fullest and consider everyday as our last because you know what? One day, it will indeed be our last. But more importantly, treat your loved ones as if it were the last time you will see them. You can never know... it just might be.


~*~*~*~*~*~

Post Script:

A jumbo-sized thank you to Lemonade for the spectacular banner that she created for my blog :) Much love and kisses to you, darling. I shall get it uploaded as soon as I get settled.

It's good to be back :)

32 Comments:

Blogger KAYLEE said...

GREAT POST!!!!!!!!!

12:25 PM  
Blogger little boxes said...

lovely post...i loved that part about how we forget that it will all end some day...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Kirthi said...

hey very nice post!! true its difficult to accept death especially for the ones who are dear to us!

1:14 PM  
Blogger utopia said...

yeah we are here today, gone tomorrow and we spend most of our lives planning for that tomorrow. we just forget living in the present. one fine day we realise life just passed us by. death is inevitable. though sometimes i wonder why do all of us dread death as much as we do? i mean yeah plagued with an ailing illness or an unforeseen accident or event is a horrific way to die. but to die at a ripe old age surrounded by your loved ones is the ideal curtains down to a life well lived.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Anshul said...

I was extremely close to my dad's elder brother and I still remember the call my dad made when he passed away.

I pray and wish speedy recovery to your Lola

2:30 PM  
Blogger foam said...

honey, i'm sorry about your grandmother.
i can actually feel for your mother and for you. i'm the caregiver of my 84 year old mother. she is suffering from alzheimers and recently broke her hip. it's hard to imagine that one of these days she will not be here anymore.

6:43 PM  
Blogger paddy said...

Welcome back.
"On Death and Dying K. Ross. Great book.
Yes death, and the five stages.
Denial: The initial stage: "It can't be happening." Anger: "Why ME? It's not fair?!" (either referring to God, oneself, or anybody perceived, rightly or wrongly, as "responsible") Bargaining: "Just let me live to see my son graduate." Depression: "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?" Acceptance: "It's going to be OK."
And there you have it the last one on the list: acceptance.
We are dying everyday to a part of ourselves: our ways and our wonts. Things that we believe in and think are true fall through, and we must accept the death of it.
So we are all the time Dying/preparing for; infact living in death every moment so much so you could almost say: truly living is in dying.
You see it so clearly if you examine the ritual of marriage especially between Psyche - when the oracle predicts she is to be married to Death. With the rigmarole- an era of life is over. Many of the costoms carried over from primitive times are indeed funeral ceremonies (the abduction of the bride in some cases)
Why are we shocked when it comes to our own close one, well, because we've not come to terms or understanding of what is all around us in everything, shape or form, DEATH.
Your Dying to comment Paddy;-)

6:56 PM  
Blogger nel said...

Sorry to hear about your grandma and hope for the best.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Compassion Unlimitted said...

Its tough.Especiaally when you are taken off gaurd.Every one sees death very close and its impact is always terrible.But when we take it as inevitable we can hold our life together.
Take Care

CU

7:17 PM  
Blogger nasia said...

:-(

8:14 PM  
Blogger Libby said...

i'm sorry to hear about your grandmother, princess...it's hard even when it is expected...[hugs]!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Behind Blue Eyes said...

I have been passed over by death. I have never had anyone in my family die until they were old and ready to go. They were all prepared for death when it happend and comfortable with leaving. A belief in the after-life surely must be a blessing. Do you believe in the after life? I try.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

When death hits home, it hurts. So much so that for a while you forget that you're still living.

I hope that your grandmother recovers soon.
It's good to have you back, although I wish that it were under better circumstances.

*hug*

1:21 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

Awww, Princess B, I'm sorry to hear that your Grandma is in such bad condition. sending ((((((HUGS))))) and prayers for your grandma's return to decent health. I hope you get a chance to enjoy her company for a while longer, with the wisdom that the knowledge of death's imminence brings.

you asked about my volunteering. I'm working at my daughter's school, in the library, for 3 hours a week on Fridays. Just straightening shelves, checking in books, etc. The same sort of things I do at my regular job (as a library page), but in the school library. It's a small effort to gain experience beyond the "page level" to hopefully improve my odds on the next library assistant job that comes open.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Princess,

Please accept my most sincere apologies and I will pray for you and your family in these tough times. I hope you know you have people who love you. Talk soon <3

Brian

4:15 AM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Oh Princess, I'm sorry to hear that your Lola is in hospital. Dealing with someone we love dying is one of the hardest things to do as it is irrevocable. With time, it is easier to remember all the good times and celebrate their life, but it never makes the loss easier to bear. The powerlessness is so frustrating too.

Lovely post.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Maverick said...

i had seen my friend's girl friend dying. That's when I wondered If that was it. All your plans, all ur dreams, shattered with a single blow. Life's really temporary isn't it. so lets try n make it beautiful.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Shreya said...

i do hope your grandmother gets well soon,dont you worry *hugs*....and the post is beautiful.its hard for us to actually let go off people we care for so much....

1:11 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

Very good post!!

2:54 PM  
Blogger The Mad Girl said...

oh dear!I am so sorry about your Grandmother.I hope she recovers soon enough.I know it's silly and all...but she'll get well. keep faith.:)

10:42 PM  
Blogger Goli said...

Hi,

Just stumbled on your blog, and I must say it was a lovely post.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Sudipta said...

Princess, that was one touching post. I hope you and your family cope bravely with whatever comes your way in the near future. Perhaps these little experiences teach us once in a while to value what we have at hand more and more.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Sling said...

Wow..It seems we've both approached the subject of death this very weekend!
I like your post better.

6:47 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Oh how foul and cruel it is for them we love to be taken out of our lives.

This I believe condenses your entire post my blog friend. The line is all about what loss we feel. NO?

in 2006 I went to 9 dead people one was my own mother whom I loved. One was my ex-wifes father whom I loved.
3 were suicides of men under the age of fifty. 1 was that of a child i did not know but was hit by a bus as he ran across eight lanes of traffic to try and catch it.
The other two were accidental overdoses.

This year I have only been to one and it was that of a much loved nephew who as a college freshman was in a situation where he thought his support system was falling apart and he died of alcohol toxicity. His was a hard body to touch because when I felt his fourth chakra it was were the autopsy had split his sternum open.

Death is loss of pain and anguish for the dead, it is the living who are left to be what they will be, hurt, sad, anguished, or possibly joyful and happy that the dead one, even the 15 year old hit by the bus or the man found three days dead laying on his couch with an empty bottle of pills and an empty fifth of liquor, headphones on and Metallica on repeat playing non stop for those three days.

I was glad when my mother died, she had nothing but breath left for the last two week of her life left to her, 13 rounds of chemo was enough and she chose the time of her death a beautiful spring day and not a cloud in the sky to inhibit her passing to the place of rest. She now sleeps comfortably with her ancestors as do the other 9. their spirits are held by the one who created it and when he calls the dead they will all wake to a world of no pain no suffering,war or death.

No my blog friend I will not cry for these ten, I will remember the time I did spend with them be it a little (the boy hit by the bus) or a lot; my mother and I will be at peace because they no longer have to see or feel the pain and evil rampant in this temporal mortal breath of time. It is eternity that awaits them and for that you should be at peace for you loved them as they lived and you can continue to love them when they are gone for it gives them even a more restful sleep.

Peace

TWM

6:51 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McKenzie said...

Death was one of those weird things I came in contact with by accident. When I was twenty-one, I ended up in a twelve step program. Fairly young, I learned how fragile life could be. People I knew drank themselves to death, committed suicide, overdosed, died of cancer (especially common among families of alcoholics) and I handled it the best I could.
When my father died unexpectedly, I took it very hard, but I just let it be hard.
I, too, am the youngest and will probably be the last one standing.
I hope your grandma is okay.

8:56 AM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

First of all, my best wishes for your grandmother and your family.

Second, there's really no way of preparing for a sudden death. My grandfathers died within months of each other. One had been terminally ill for three years (he was too stubborn to go when the doctor first said he would). He died by littles, so the mourning process was very gradual. It didn't take all of the sting out, but it was a much less intesne than when my second grandfather went, for he died suddenly.

Like you, when I was young, I realized that I would see all of these people, those I loved most, die. It's a pretty depressing thought. It helps, after you go through it enough, to realize that the time here is really a gift, kinda, and that death is a part of life, not antithetical to it.

You might not know how you'll react the day, hopefully long from now, when your grandma actually passes away until you get there.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

I hope your g'mother gets through this well... Good post, unfortunately I am a big escapist and hate thinking about death more than 2 seconds, so I'm not going to be able to write any meaningful comments on this one...

11:20 AM  
Blogger Crashdummie said...

Even though a part of you understand death is a part of life, you can never ever be truly prepared for it – death seems so final, you know… But I do hope that time heals everything and you once again can raise above it – cuz there is a lesson to be learned: nothing lasts forever, and you should really make the fullest of the life. Live, learn & love…

Wonderful post as always...

5:25 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

awesome post bud..i used to ponder a lot about it..but then now I realise that it is not worth end..enjoy the times of being alive..enjoy the times without our friends and loved ones..leave nothin for regret...

10:36 PM  
Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Those holy-cow moments are tough to work through. But at the end of the day, you need to have them. You have to know all of this to live life to the fullest.

Nice post!

11:07 PM  
Blogger self taught artist said...

It amazes me you have lived this long without having experienced others dying. Consider yourself lucky, each time it happens it isn't any easier than the first time.
I hope your grandmother isn't suffering and can get through this without having a heart attack!

11:30 PM  
Blogger drips of paint said...

hope grandmother is o.k. now ...
wish you all well.....

my good friend flew down to Florida right now to be with her mum and it seems to be the end for this 85 years old mum. Her e-mail to me this morning is " nothing that you can prepare for something like this happening even though you expected it" ...

As for myself I think I am just cold blooded...

4:20 PM  

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