Death is such an interesting occurrence. Not death itself, of course. We don’t really know what happens when our physical forms cease to function, but the way those of us who stay behind process it and grieve the loved ones we lose is fascinating.
I lost my uncle Gregory yesterday. His existence was a miracle and the fact that he made it 68 years, even more so. He was born with polio. They told his mother that he had six days to live. They told her to say her goodbyes, to mourn the loss of him before his life even began. He’s one of the reasons I believe in miracles. I grew up laughing at his jokes, basking in his light. He was different. Even though no one spoke about his ailments, from a young age I knew he was different because he didn’t look the way the others in our family looked. He didn’t live the way they did. I have an aunt like that as well, from my dad’s side of the family, and despite their health issues and their appearances and all of the things that would potentially hold back a “normal person” these two humans have always had a bright aura around them. It’s the only way I can explain it. Me, the skeptic, the black sheep in a family of believers, who questions most things, never questioned them.
They say the good die young, so I always thought he’d leave us much sooner because of that. He went to the hospital last week. He’d been in and out with Covid and then issues it presented him with. When I heard of his passing, I was instantly sad, but I wasn’t surprised by it like the rest of my family seems to be. It made me think a lot about grief and loss and how many people I’ve had to say goodbye to before I was ready to.
That’s the interesting thing about death though. The moment our souls leave our bodies, our absence creates a void in each and every life we touched. It’s devastating, sure, but there’s beauty in that. I’ve never been particularly afraid of death, but I’ve always been concerned with what it may to do those I leave behind, because I know the void all too well. No one can escape that void. I don’t think we’re meant to. For years, I felt confused about it all. We live, we experience pain and loss, and if we’re lucky we find joy in experiences before we die.
So, maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what we’re here for. Maybe grief is the challenge. After all, it’s one of the threads we all have in common. Like death, grief is unavoidable, and yet, we don’t fully understand how to cope with it. Talking about it helps. Therapy helps.