Dealing with Death

I am learning to deal with death for really the first time in my life. Somehow, I’ve made it for 30 years without really having lost anyone close to me. When I was really young, maybe 5 or 6, my great-grandmother died. I know I was there for the funeral, but I don’t really have any memories of her before then. Other than that, I’ve only had to deal with pets and farm animals dying. (Of note, I did not react particularly well to the time they took the sheep to the butcher.)

Now my grandmother is dying. Her time is short for this world, and I love her with all of my heart. We lived in the same town when I was growing up, and she was a very important part of my life. For possibly the first time, I will consciously and actively miss someone from my life. This has been particularly hard for me, especially since I know that I probably won’t be able to get to Utah where she is being cared for before she goes.

I find myself tearing up in the oddest places: during the opening prayer of a ward FHE activity, driving to work, reading on an airplane. I don’t cry well, and so far have only made it to sobs once (about 15 minutes ago). I’ve worried that I’d have to call off dates and races, and I’m constantly making contingency plans. I’m distracted easily at work (more so than usual). I’ve visited the temple and prayed continually for her pain to be eased and for the Lord’s will to be done. I’ve had trouble blogging and writing in other forms too, because apparently when I write, I actually have to acknowledge my feelings. It’s been hard.

I have been keeping it kind of quiet, but I’ve been a little muted from my normal self over the last few weeks. Those of you with frequent contact with me might have noticed. That’s just me, trying to deal. Some days are better than others. I think my grandma would want me to be out and about. (I do know that she has commented in the past few weeks about how much she would love it if I (and the rest of my unmarried male cousins) would get married, so that’s incentive enough to do the social things.)

If you read my blog and know her and haven’t yet, you can visit her CaringBridge page and sign her guestbook. My aunt and uncle are printing off the messages people leave for her and reading them to her.

For the rest of you who have lost loved ones, how did you learn to deal with death?

8 thoughts on “Dealing with Death”

  1. You know, I don't think I have (learned to deal with it)…People try to offer comfort by saying we should be happy, that we'll see them again and all that. I'm sure that's true. But it doesn't help here and now. I think that the most comforting thought I have found is in the fact that they are no longer in pain. They can rest. Their life was settled. And we can think on different events and circumstances and think "they would like this".

    I'm sorry about your grandma. I'm sorry if I'm not more help. I'm just sorry. I'll be thinking of you.

  2. My grandpa passed away eight years ago after becoming sick. He was given five years, but was gone within a year. That was my first experience losing someone I loved and was close to. My grandparents on my dad's side were a very important part of my life. Their home felt like a second home to me growing up, and even more so after I went away to school and they became my closest family. It was hard for me to see my grandpa lose the energy and optimism he'd had when I was younger, and hard to imagine that I would not see him again in this life once he passed away. I think when death is prolonged like it was for him, and like it is for your grandma right now, it's almost easier when the time actually comes, because that's when you are able to finally and truly mourn. But even that is not easy.

    I also had an uncle pass away, two years ago. He was very young, and we all loved him very much, and it happened suddenly. My sister was with me, here in Michigan, when we found out, and we spent a good hour after the phone call holding each other close and crying, and also laughing in between our tears as we remembered everything we had loved about Kevin. In both of these experiences with a loved one dying, I have found in between the moments of grief, moments of incredible closeness with other family members who knew and loved the person as I did. Human bonds build upon human bonds, and through loving someone and mourning someone together, you often grown even closer to others who you already love. That is a comfort that I think can grow out of these things.

    I'm sorry – I knew your grandmother's sickness was affecting you, but I did not realize how deeply. Even when you are quiet about things, you have many people who care about you. I am thinking of you and your family.

  3. I remembered this today…it was on the funeral program of a sister in our ward who recently died. She had pancreatic cancer and was in pain, especially towards the end. Everyone loved her and was sad to see her go. Anyway, I can't swear by this, but think she or her mom may have written it…

    I'M FREE
    Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
    I'm following the path God laid for me.
    I took his hand when I heard him call,
    I turned my back and left it all.

    I could not stay another day,
    To laugh, to love, to work or play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way,
    I found that place at the close of day.

    If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

    Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
    I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
    My life's been full, I've savored much,
    Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.

    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
    Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
    Lift up your heart and share with me.
    God wanted me now, He set me free.

    And Amy's right…you have people who care about you. Don't be afraid to let them in. Love ya.

  4. Thanks for posting this.

    I completely understand. I knew at some point we would eventually have to loose someone from this earth. I am glade we have made it this far, though it seems the older I get the less I want that point to come. I too cry in the strangest of moments. I have never been this emotional in my life. I can't hardly get through the day without crying over something, usually it has to do with the caringbridge website. Lara made the comment to me, referring to Grandma and Grandpa, "at least they are sealed" and while I take that knowledge as comfort it doesn't erase the struggle of dealing. I love you! It was good to have everyone together at the wedding, for family is truly what matters.

    I have struggled time and again on whether or not to go and see Grandma. But if I don't make it down there I know that she loves us. I have memories to hold on to, and I know that I will see her again, in a much better place.

    I love you!

  5. Is it so strange that almost all of us have made it this far and not dealt with the death of someone close? I too am having problems with thinking about going home to Lovell and not seeing Grandma there at her house. I think i cry the most when I think about Grandpa. I swear with the new upgrades to his system that he might just live another 10-15 years. That is a long lonely time to be alone. I find that for the most part in my life I have thought about death as not a big deal and don't really have a problem with Grandma dying as I do seeing her in the process. I was glad that I got to see her and hold her hand and kiss her cheek but I wasn't expecting to see her like that. I had to try really really hard not to start crying there in the care center. I knew that she wouldn't like that so I didn't but I still had a lump in my throat for a few hours later. Anyway, hold tuff… like a Ford! (corny i know, but i like corn!) I am glad that I have had wonderful times with Grandma and credit her with my existance still, without her house to go eat lunch at during wrestling i probably would have 1. starved to death or 2. eaten too much, not made weight and been killed by my team!

  6. it is never easy to lose someone we love in the pass six months I have lost two people vary near and dear to me about 4months ago one of my dear friends got in a car crash the doctors told us they didn’t think he was going to last longer than 3 days and it would be amazing if he made it through the night I remember sitting in the hospital room sitting with him talking ,crying and feeling unbearable pain of waiting for him to pass. and dealing with the deep pain inside knowing that he wasn’t going to be there in my life any more ,the last time I talked with him was the night he passed we talked about life, death, pain, love, and how deal with his lost he told me

    Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, love is stronger than death.”
    After he passed I remember feeling so emotionless I showed no emotion to any one about anything, two weeks after his passing his mom asked me to come help her pack up his room she had be putting it off as long as she could, I told her I would help I walked into his room,for the first time I cried showing to someone the pain I was feeling
    as his mom huged me She gave me the key to dealing with the lost of a loved one
    You can shed tears that he is gone,
    or you can smile because he has lived.
    You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
    or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
    Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
    or you can be full of the love you shared.
    You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
    or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
    You can remember that he is only gone for a short time,
    cherish his memory and let it live on.
    You can cry and close your mind,
    be empty and turn your back.
    Or you can do what he'd want:
    smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

    i'm sorry about your grandma and that you are in the stage of waiting i understand yyour in pain i'm sorry if i am not that much help just know you are loved

  7. I couldn't be there when my PoPo (grandmother) finally passed away, because it was the last week before my undergraduate thesis was due. But, I helped make sure my aunt and mom were there. I wrote the commemorative poem for her funeral; that's what I did while they were out there and I couldn't be. I knew in my heart it was coming and my aunt and I got everyone to go out the Christmas before (just two months). And, I made sure I told her I love her which she said back to me. That's what helped me deal with it–remembering that.

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