Grief is a bitch. She doesn’t really care where you are when she comes to punch you in the gut.
I am in the thick of grief, and so are several people I know. Beginning in 2018, there were several things that occurred to the people I care about within weeks of each other that knocked the wind out of me. These incidents woke me up to my own mortality. Loss is a part of life. It’s a concept I was familiar with, but was ignoring or afraid to face.
My friend was murdered in her home for no reason. Her killer is still at large.
A co-worker committed suicide.
My great aunt and uncle passed away within a month of each other.
Two family members went into the hospital both for life-threatening issues. They are ok.
A friend of mine almost got eaten by a semi truck on the highway. She is healing.
A close friend lost her dad, and is now witnessing her mother's losing battle with cancer.
Two co-workers both lost their fathers within a week of each other.
This is a thing I have come to know intimately over the last few months: how absolutely mortal we are. I think this is what we learn as we get older — we are faced with our own end. It is an uncomfortable realization.
No wonder people have midlife crises! I totally get it — why not buy the sports car and get a new lover, if you’re going to die? But being a shitty human does not save you from death.
These events have definitely made me feel like I need to be in a hurry to get my dreams accomplished. It could be over tomorrow and then the things that I want to share with the world will never have voice.
While I grieve the people I’ve lost, I think I’m feeling more at peace with death. That’s a weird thing to say, but yeah. None of us are getting out of this life alive. It makes me want to focus on the things that delight me, make sure my people know I love them, and do the things I have always wanted to do. And that way, I can be ready when Death comes for me.
When Death Comes
by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins
from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox.
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this
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