Tag Archives: death

Swallowing Grief Whole

Death. It’s a thing.

I have lost people to death, both before I could really understand it and after. My first encounter is just but a snippet. I am not even sure if she died that particular day, but I remember seeing my great-grandmother collapse on the floor. I don’t recall seeing her after that. When I was sixteen (or thereabouts), my grandfather died. It stung and I didn’t quite understand why, but I pushed it down, until I couldn’t.  In the last few years, I have lost others, and due to recent events of one in particular, I have been stuffing and stuffing grief down whole. Death. (sigh) It’s a thing.

The moments in my life when death happened, and I had a grasp of its meaning, I found a way to squash whatever I was feeling. Business first, tears later my grandmother says. Only, I am not so sure my tears ever came.  The business of caring for others or filling out paperwork or going to work or taking care of children, or any number of regular, mundane activities that could have waited until I grieved, always came first. Tears never came. With the end of 2018 barreling its way toward closing time, I think the grief I have swallowed is finally catching up. Its closing time, the music is lowering and the lights are about to come on. What was hidden is about to become ugly, real quick.

Enter the ugly. I am just now allowing the thoughts of loss to come. Along with it, unfortunately, comes the thought of expiration dates. It is completely terrifying to know we all have one, yet we have no clue when it is. I am seeing The Kids differently, Young Gun, and my parents. I am filled with fear of loss and all that follows. I feel like I should cling to them, keep them hostage. No open doors. No adventures. No living. I just need them close. I need to smell them and touch them. I need to know they will be okay, always. With every new day, my fear grows and grows. It is little now. I can tell. But it will grow if I don’t figure out a way to regurgitate this grief—all of it.

Death. It’s a thing. It leaves behind the grievers with no clear path to wellness. Our questions cannot be answered. Only vague assumptions can take the place of answers. Only tall tales by those who choose to make themselves look like heroes. The other side is heard nevermore. It’s a thing. A scary, inevitable, colorless, odorless thing. Grief is the only payoff from such an unfair transaction, but it, too, is a thing. A scary, inevitable, colorless, odorless thing. It is a real, whole thing. It should be ingested one piece at a time. Lesson, unfortunately, learned.

~SM

Death (And Other Grown-Up) Prepping

I am a single, 35 year old mother of 2 with no life insurance, disability insurance, retirement fund or emergency fund. If a bird shits on my life the wrong way everything collapses. I am on the brink of turning 36 and I suppose it is time for me to become a real, live grown-up. First thing first—Death Prepping.

The hardest thing a person will probably ever do for themselves and for their families is create, read and sign their Last Will & Testament. I spent last night’s baseball practice reading and re-reading my Will. It puts lots of things into perspective, especially when you do not have much to leave behind.

I read through the Will, imagining The Girl and The Boy sitting in a lawyer’s office listening to him read my last wishes. Morbid. But necessary. Being prepared for your death is less about you–it is about who you are leaving behind.

I think the thought of doing a Living Will came from (don’t judge me) Grey’s Anatomy. Derrick dying, Meredith having to make whatever decisions, Bailey bugging Ben about what he wanted to do in case it was left up to her–it all translated into real life. What if something did happen to me? Would my loved ones know what I wanted? Hell…did I really know what I wanted? The Will was easy to deal with…the Living Will was what had me reeling.

Thinking about what I wanted done in the event of something I cannot possibly predict was hands down harsh. What if I am pregnant? Do they save me and then the baby? Or just let me go and save the baby? What if they want to amputate a limb? Will it save my life? Can they leave the limb and still figure out a way to save me? How long, if at all, do I want to be hooked up to machines? Who will I appoint to carry out these wishes and pray they do not let their emotions get in the way? See…I told ya…harsh.

To ease some of the morbid tension between my future self and my sick/dead self, I decided to focus on something a little bit more cheery: Retirement. My plan has been (and continues to be) to live out the rest of my days in a Charleston beach house with the ocean as my back yard, teaching horny 20 year olds about literature and writing. I refuse to be 65 skrimping to live. I want to actually set my bills to auto-pay. I want to have several commas in my savings accounts and no negatives in my checking accounts. I want to be able to live in peace with no financial worries.

Planning for your death, sickness, and retired life is exhausting. I was so tired by the time I got done with all of that, I had to go to bed early. But, when I laid my head down on the pillow, I felt accomplished. I felt ready. I felt…like a grown-up.

~SM