Coping With Loss

Before now, I have never lost someone I loved or at least not to death.

I have had people walk out of my life before. Those people were once so important, but now I barely think of them. It honestly never hurt me that much to lose people in that way, because I knew there was a choice involved. If they wanted to be in my life they could, and if I wanted them in my life, I could make an effort to keep them there. Growing apart is a natural phenomenon, which I have never had an issue with. I see most people in my life and most situations as fleeting. Nothing is permanent; not how you feel, not who you are, and not who is there for you. Everything changes no matter what you do. If somehow your life remains the same throughout the years, then you have not really lived. Humans, despite the fact that they spend their lives trying to build a shelter for themselves and their family, are not really meant to stay still; figuratively or literally. I have always accepted this fact.

I knew logically that I would lose my family one day. Nobody lives forever. I knew that unless I died young, I would have to watch my parents die. I just did not think it would be so soon. I hoped I would have more time. If anyone has read my last post, my father was in hospice care. He was battling cancer and got several infections that could not be cured. The doctors predicted he would die within days, but he was stronger than we thought. He fought for a few more weeks, until he couldn’t fight anymore.

When my mother called me telling me, he hadn’t woken up in days, I knew I was finally losing him. I went home that night to say goodbye. He couldn’t speak or open his eyes, but when I held his hand I felt him squeeze it. I told him it was okay to stop fighting. I told him I loved him and would miss him, but I would be okay. I told him the family would all take care of each other. He didn’t need to worry about us anymore.

I was the last to say goodbye, and that morning I got a call that he passed away. I think he was waiting for me. I think he wanted to make sure I would be okay, if he moved on. I continued on with my finals, as if nothing had happened. I put all of my energy into passing them, not just for me, but for him. I wanted to make him proud. My grades were always important to him, so I couldn’t let myself fall apart.

His death didn’t truly hit me until the funeral. That’s when I saw his lifeless body lying in the casket. I really hate open casket funerals. Let’s all just gaze at the dead, dressed up corpse of our loved ones? It just seems messed up to me, but I suppose some people need it for closure. I guess that is what it gave me. I did not cry much until I saw him there in the casket. It was him, but not. There he was, but he couldn’t hear me or speak to me. It was just a body. I would never hug him or talk to him again. That’s when I started crying. I just couldn’t look at him like that.

I cried that whole day. I suppose I was letting out what I had been keeping in all that time. I know a lot of people take comfort in the fact that their loved ones are no longer suffering or that they will meet again in heaven, but I am not sure what I believe.

It also doesn’t really matter what I believe, because it doesn’t make it true. The truth is the only people who know what awaits us in the afterlife are dead, and that is if anything waits for us at all. I still pray that whatever the afterlife holds, that my dad is at peace, but I guess I have no way of knowing till I eventually join him. I am not sure how to cope. The uncertainty keeps me from being at peace with the loss, but it also keeps me from being destroyed by it as well. I can’t continue to worry about the questions that I may never have the answer to.

Have you ever lost a loved one? How do you feel about death? What experiences do you have with loss, and how did you process them (or not)? What would you have done differently?

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