Things Nobody Tells You About Death

Death is the unavoidable certainly of life. We are all going to experience the death of a loved one at some point in our lives.

This experience came to me when I just turned 22. My mother, after having emergency surgery, passed. Septicemia due to complications. I do not want to focus on the how and why she passed.

The morning of the 20th November the phone rang with the crushing news. She had passed during the night the sister informed us. No amount of words can adequately convey the extent to which my world was utterly shaken. I felt that my reason to live had died with my mother.

Relief that she should no longer suffer surfaced surprisingly soon, followed by guilt for feeling relief.

Pain is a funny thing. It demands to be felt (I know I am stealing a line from John Greene here). Even when your body shuts down and you become dead and numb inside, which is worse than any pain I know, the absence of the ability to feel causes even more pain.

And then there is paperwork regarding death….who in their right minds thought a grieving family will be able to handle the mediocre, nuisance task of paperwork that seems never ending at that stage. Papers to declare death. Papers to fulfill the will and testament. Papers to get the loans voided. Papers to get insurance to pay. Papers... Papers.... Papers…as if as an entire life has been reduced to a few sheafs of print.

Nothing is safe from Death’s touch. The family unit irrevocably changes. Aside from the obvious and crude reminder that an important person is no longer there, each person in the family also changes in relation to their experience of death. We may be 4 sibling in our family, but our experiences regarding our mother’s passing were vastly different and incomprehensible to each other.

There’s the inevitable pity as news spreads. People think they need to feel sorry for you, not realizing that all a person wants is to be treated normally. False pity expressions only served to fuel a flaring temper.

One saying that is somewhat true, “Time Heals Everything,” applies here. I say it is somewhat true, only because with the passage of time one gradually adjusts and learn to cope with the loss. The pain and longing never really go away. It only becomes more bearable.

As more time passes you find yourself being able to smile again and to remember some fond memories without the longing threatening to crush you.

Nothing changes those left behind as much as death does.