I remember when my best friend died at the age of 29, three weeks before before his 30th birthday. My step-father told me to get over it, and everyone dies, and it’s a part of life. Well duh, I thought. But I was so mad at him for being so callous and as far as I was concerned not very helpful. But he wasn’t a nice man to me throughout my childhood so why would I think he would have compassion for me now. Anyways I digress that is another story in itself. At the time, he was about 70, and I guess at that age a person has seen a lot of death. But this was the first real death I had encountered in my youth. I mean I had grandparents die, but they were old and lived a good life so in my opinion that is the natural progression of life and death. However, when someone dies that is young and let’s not forget my best friend that I had since I was seven years old, it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.
I can not say that any death after his death has gotten easier. In my 53 years on this earth, I have experienced many deaths and what I can say is that they are all different but none the less heartbreaking. The heart-wrenching punch to the stomach feels like I can not breathe, still feels the same as it did all those years ago.
The questions of why did this happen still are on my mind but the length of time is much shorter. Do we become cold and indifferent to pain and suffering through the passage of death, the older we become? This year alone I have lost three friends and a fiance. Of course, the biggest hit was my soon to be husband. He died a sudden death at 48 yrs old, leaving behind four beautiful children and a bunch of childhood friends that I had not met until the memorial and of course his family was devastated.
It’s been almost six months since he is gone and I still wake up some mornings with a lump in my throat and bile rising from my stomach. Still feeling as if it happened yesterday. As I stand and look in the mirror barely even awake, brushing my teeth, I start to cry. I think to myself “a great way to start the day.”
Does time, one knows someone, determine the extent of the grief? I would have to say no. We can not measure anyone else’s pain to our own.
Is it a process, yes. Even with all the deaths, I have experienced in my life from old to young, from family to friend or lover, all I know is that it doesn’t get easier but changes with age. Maybe wisdom and experience have something to do with it. Was my step-father right?
I have days that I get by and even moments when I don’t think of him, but then a song or a smell or a sight will bring him to the forefront of my memory. The loneliness is the worst so I try to keep myself busy.
Before he died, I went out and bought the safe food gloves that are used to handle food. I bought them at Costco, so I have like a thousand of them. He showed me many things in the kitchen, and that was one of them so now every time I put on those stupid gloves I think of him – like I said I have a thousand of them. WTH
Some of the ways I have been dealing with it differently than in the past is that I express my feelings and I don’t try to numb out with alcohol or drugs. However, lately, I have found a new way to numb out with an endless series of tv. I am accountable to someone I love and trust with my feelings, and I try to get out and enjoy the things I once enjoyed. I know one thing for sure that we can’t avoid death but hopefully, time is gentle for you and you don’t have to see it too often.