It wasn’t just hers, it was my dad’s as well. Both equally strengthening my views on life and death.
Life events like death humbles us and opens us up. It helps us appreciate life more and that life is a gift. Prior to experiencing a loved one passing on, I really didn’t have a sense that time was limited. Nor did I truly comprehend how fragile and precious our lives are. I now see the world, what I choose to focus on and how I respond to the world very differently. Death brings us a deeper and wider perspective .
Her death had a greater impact on me than my dad’s. That’s not to say that I loved my dad any less. Before my dad passed away, I had time. I had time to adjust. To emotionally prepare. He was old (in his 94th year) and had failing kidneys. I had time to begin my grieving process long before he passed on. It gave me time to reflect, time to say things I wanted to say, to do things I want to do with him. Time to reflect on things I may regret if I didn’t do or say it with him.
Her’s was sudden. An accident. A stupid freak accident. So when she suddenly left my life. It hit me. It hit me hard and it still effects me.
I’ll never forget. I’ll never stop feeling loss. I do have regrets. I regret that I didn’t call her or connect with her when I told myself I would. Being wrapped up in the siren song of my own life. I was busy with my life and she was busy with hers.
For over a month she entered my thoughts. I wondered when I should call her. There was/is never a good or right time. The time was now!
I’d often hear people say Life is Short . I’ve learnt that life isn’t short at all. It’s perceived as short when we don’t take the time to be present, and mindful, getting caught up in the busyness of our lives.
Lessons in Death
Her passing taught me to live my truth. I couldn’t allow her passing nor my dad’s to go in vain, or to have no bearing on my own life.
I needed to learn from their lives. I needed something in my life to change. What could I learn about living my life through the passing of close loved ones?. Below are some of my insights and learnings. Although I already do some of these things, I feel that I could be more mindful in doing them.
- Be grateful : for all the small and big things and events in my life.
- Be kind to yourself : sometimes we spend too much time worrying about the future, thinking we need to get “stuff” done and we forget about ourselves and our own well-being.
- It’s not about getting over it , it’s about living with it : this is s true with my recent experience when someone said to me flippantly “oh don’t worry it will pass. You’ll get over it soon” . I know they mean well, but to be honest I wasn’t sure how to take it. I felt it was heartless and uncompassionate. Suggesting that the feeling will leave me forever. No I didn’t want it to pass (yet I didn’t want to wallow in it either) . Understanding that it’s about living with it and accepting changed my perspective, live and the way I chose to heal.
- Grieving is a process you go through not something you get over.
- Life continues to move forward, although it may never be the same.
- Let nothing go unsaid : if you have something you want to express to someone then do it you don’t know if they will be around tomorrow. Live with no regrets!
- Connect and spend time with those you care about and brings you joy.
- Strength doesn’t mean you always feel strong. It means you show up anyway. To have courage and trust you will have strength.
- Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
- Be True to yourself : why live a life to please others if it means having to be somebody else. When someone passes on it serves as a reminder that somethings just don’t matter.
I feel a sense of responsibility to honor the life of my dad and my close friend by living deeply and savouring what is in front of me and to live my life well. And understanding, knowing and reflecting on what makes me feel alive and present is my priority now.
Death is powerfully enlightening but you don’t have to die to change the way you live. It challenges us to question our own lives and what to do with it. It’s a paradox, it makes us aware of what it means to be alive.
I read recently that “life is like a rainbow”. The light and rain forms the beauty and then it fades. The goal is the shared journey and the profound expression of our lives.