On Death

Death is a funny thing. Not necessarily funny in a “Ha ha” kind of way, but funny in the way it approaches you.

You grow up knowing that you’re getting older. How can we not? As soon as we’re old enough to count backwards we’re counting down the days until we’re one year older. Eventually, those countdowns stop, but at what point is different for every person. It was only a couple years ago when I personally stopped caring about how old I was soon going to be.

I have found that there comes a point where you stop counting down to how old you’re going to be and start adding up how many days you’ve had to enjoy life. It may sound a little morbid, but for me, it was when my Grandma passed away a month ago. It was sudden, it was hard, and it still is.

We were told that she had 3 to 6 months to live, but she only lived for about 2 more weeks past that prognosis. See, you can countdown as much as you like, but sometimes life has a funny way of throwing a wrench into things.

Sometimes I forget that people, animals, myself … You only get older. I’m struggling with the acceptance of this, especially since my mom had to put our dog down because of cancer in the fall. I always forget that when you have a pet, chances are that they’re going to die before you do. When Tanner passed in the fall, it was the first time I had really felt grief. Before that, it was when my great-grandma passed away a few years ago, but it never hit me as hard.

But now, with Daphne starting to show signs of her progressing age, it’s getting tough again. I’m constantly worried that I’m going to wake up one morning and she won’t be able to move at all, and I’ll have to say goodbye once again to something I love so much.

Saying goodbye because of death is the hardest thing I think anyone has to do. You can’t avoid death, and you can’t countdown to it. Death works in its own, mysterious ways. I choose not to think that death and the way we die is part of some higher being’s plan. I don’t believe it should be in anyone’s plan to make people’s emotions ache and hurt so badly.

For me, I’ve learned that it’s okay to hate death, but I have to remember that its inevitable. You can’t avoid it, but when it comes, it’s okay to be sad, mad, and angry at it. I don’t know when I’ll fully heal and accept that death has taken those I loved away from me, but with each day, it gets a little easier to cope with.

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a supportive family that understands that it’s hard for me to deal with it some days, and when I bust out into tears they don’t judge me, but just love me.

One day I’ll learn not to hate death so much, and to accept it as part of the natural way of life. For now, I’m just going to try to understand it.

How do you deal or cope with death?

Sorry for the somewhat dark nature of this post, but it’s just been on my mind for a while and I needed to get it out.

The Strongest Man I Know

My Grandpa is the toughest man I know. He’s my hero, I can’t say that more than enough.

Yesterday afternoon, my Grandma quietly passed away surrounded by family, myself included. Yesterday was by far the hardest day of my life. And while my family wept, sobbed and showed their emotions, my grandpa was quiet. He loved that woman more than one could ever know, but there he stood – almost at peace with what had just happened. She was the love of his life for 36 years, always taking care of him. For the past month and a bit, he’s taken care of her; he’s been at her bedside every day that he could be. It’s funny how the tables can turn sometimes.

My grandpa had confessed that he always thought that it would be him to go first, and that my grandma would live to be a ripe old age. (His words, not mine) I think we all did. My grandma was always so full of love and life – planning, laughing, just living. My grandpa always stood beside her, going along with her elaborate plans.

Seeing my grandpa so broken hurts me so much. He’s really the strongest man I know.

I’m going to miss my grandma so much. She was always there for me, no matter what. Her love was always unconditional. It’s going to be so hard accepting the fact that she’s gone.

I love you so much Grandma, and I promise to take good care of Grandpa for you.

If you’d like, you can read a little about what happened here – I’ve taken the password off.

3 to 6 Months

When I hear “3 to 6 months” I think, “Well, that’s pretty vague.” When you look at it, school, for many kids, will be out for summer in three months, and then in six months it will be back in session. Four or five months puts you smack-dab in the middle of summer. I don’t like such vague terms.

However, that’s what we were given. My family, that is. My grandma, who’s health has taken an unfortunate turn, has 3 to 6 months to live. Last week she was given a CT scan and they discovered cancer. Bad cancer. Terminal cancer. Cancer that had started in her pancreas and metastasized into her liver. Cancer so aggressive that given her current condition, it’s untreatable – because of the stroke she suffered, which happened because of the heart attack she had. In fact, doctors figured the cancer is what caused the heart attack.

But what on earth would have happened if that 1 in 5,000 odd didn’t happen to my grandma and that she didn’t suffer a stroke during her angioplasty? What then? Would we keep going on not knowing? Would she still have only 3 to 6 months? Would my heart still be hurting so badly right now?

If none of this happened, my grandparents would just be arriving back into Canada from their snowbirding trip, sun-kissed and full of excitement to finally see their family after four months. My grandma would most likely have an armful of pink onesies picked out for Baby. Now … now she might not even meet her great granddaughter. I’m due in three months.

And it hurts. So much.

3 to 6 months.