Today, I have something different to share with you. It is a piece about my personal struggle with death. Over a decade ago, I lost three grandparents in under two-and-a-half years. I didn’t have time to cope with the loss of one, before I lost another, and each death was like losing the ones who passed before all over again.
I wrote “Heavyhearted” without the intention of sharing it, but I realized that many people are suffering from the loss of a loved one. Hopefully some of you are coping with it better than I am, but if you’re not, you’re not alone. Here’s a glimpse into my struggle. Please feel free to comment below and share your own story. I hear it is cathartic for some, and perhaps releasing some of it is better than holding it all in.
I suppose, like everything else, everyone experiences death differently. For me, I felt the initial strike through the heart. The fragment in time when I knew everything had changed, but shock and denial prevented a full understanding. A scattering of fractures raced through my heart, threatening to collapse the whole beating mess.
After that moment, the weight of the thing hung clumsily to my chest, constricting my breath.
I found that the feeling my life as I knew it had ended, was permanent. Not a reaction to panic or fear; the pain was a foreshadowing.
I discovered that time doesn’t heal all things. Sometimes you gain perspective. Sometimes it forces you to get better at shoving aside memories and redirecting your thoughts. But for me, eventually I realized that death was a degenerative disease of the heart. I became better at ignoring the pain and thinking about other things. Except when I couldn’t.
Then, days rolled by where no matter how many times I redirected my thoughts, I could feel the weight of the loss. Sometimes it wasn’t days, but weeks that the weight suffocated me. Other times, it wasn’t weeks, but months. And then the weight would be forgotten for a while.
Now, more than a decade later, the weight has made a home, and the tears, when they come, are heavier.