Death is something that will happen to all of us…. My dad used to say to me ” No one will get out alive”. I used to laugh at him, one for the way he viewed death, he would say things like ” I will eat what I want, something will take you anyways”. I think the most profound thing he ever said though was this, ” A good life is dying before my kids”. Well I am happy to say he got his good life!
Why am I writing about death? It is for the mere fact death is a daily thing in someone’s life, somebody out there is experiencing death right now, either themselves, a loved one, a friend, a child. All of us will go through a time of loss or like myself, multiple losses that really can challenge your beliefs and how you view death and what is the next phase of life for those who have passed and for us who are left here in this physical world. When my mom passed away in April of 2012, it wasn’t my first encounter with death, but honestly it was the one that impacted me the most. I used to say she was only 64, that is too young, but really death doesn’t have a number. I started thinking to my self, when is it ok to die, what age do you stop saying, ” they were too young”, or “they could have done something different to live longer”, or simply thinking “what a loss of a life”. My mom knew she was dying. I will never forget when the doctor came into the hospital room and told us that she maybe had a week, when he walked out my mom said,” it will be sooner”. I will never forget that feeling of hopelessness, of not being able to help, and the FEAR for her and my self to think about a life without her…. That night, I chose to stay the night, had my dad go home to get some sleep, we had the most amazing talks. I laugh looking back how she was still my mom, comforting me, telling me she would be my angel and that I would never be without her. The day she died, I chose to walk out of the room before she took her last breath, I felt she was not letting go because I was still there, just a feeling I had, I drove home, which was about 15 minutes, my dad called when I walked into my house and said she is gone. Who would have thought 9 months later I would be going through the same thing, but this time with my dad. After my moms passing, I spent those 9 months loving my dad probably more than he wanted :)! I seriously believed back then, that I could be enough for him, that I could make everything ok, that life still could be wonderful without my mom. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital, those were the hardest weeks I have ever been through. I will never forget when he got out of a test, he had an oxygen mask on and was a little out of it and he said “today is 9 months since she died”. I had tears streaming down my face and all I could do was smile and say ” dad you are doing this, she is so proud of you”. On the day my dad died he was sitting in a chair and the all the doctors were having a “pow wow” ( what my dad called it) talking about him and his case. He told me ” Rach, I can’t die here, I haven’t eaten or drank anything in 3 weeks”. I could see his fear and didn’t know what to do about it. When I left that morning, I gave him a kiss on his lips before they turned the bypass mask back on and looked into his eyes, instead of saying ” I love you”, like I normally would, I said ” I will see you later”. Later that day, the doctor called and told me it was a matter of hours before he would pass. I drove to the hospital which was about 35 minutes away, when I got there, he was already in that state, where he would never speak again, never open his eyes, I remember whispering in his ear ” You thought you could leave without me being here, that was never an option”. He took his last breath 3 hours later. Walking out of that hospital I wondered what I was going to do? I had a million of thoughts racing in my head, I was an orphan, didn’t matter that I was 40, the reality of the two people who loved me for me, were gone.
In the years since there passing I have had many experiences of them showing me they are always with me. I see a butterfly ( my mom, she loved them) smell a cigarette, see an old car ( my dad) get chills when it is warm out. Somethings are just hard to explain, but I know it is them. I view their deaths as a gift to me, which some might not get or understand, but how I choose to look at it. A gift of living, like a second chance to REALLY live. Believe me I am human and there are days I would give everything to hear their voices, see their faces, to give them hugs and kisses, instead, I talk to them, internally or sometimes, I talk out loud. Not crazy, they hear me, they have guided me, shown me and keep with me all the time. Viewing death as a number, disease, or anything else really is limiting you from living. We don’t know when our time will come, or anyone else’s that we love. I have learned a new way to live, to really LIVE. Like my dad said ” We are all going to die”, we are, but what he didn’t know, he was still going to be living on just somewhere else.
This picture I took from my walk last week. I came home and told Pressley that grandma was with me on my walk. She said ” you saw a grandma on your walk”? I laughed and showed her the picture….. She smiled, she knew what I was saying. Death is a hard process and takes time to wrap your head around, but maybe you need to look at other options, it doesn’t have to be as sad, painful and lonely as we have been told. Always look for the signs, they are there, you just need to believe.