When I got the idea for this article I was figuring out how I was going to manage to attend my great grandfather's funeral without missing any school. I was convinced that after I went to the funeral I would know exactly what this article was going to be about. However, when I tried to formulate the idea in my head on the train back to the city I couldn't really come up with much. So I guess, even as I am writing, I'm not entirely sure where I intend for this to go.
I think the main point I want to make is that anytime someone passes away, especially someone close to your heart, it hurts a hell of a lot. It doesn't matter if it was unexpected, sudden or if their days were numbered. It still hurts just as much. I don't want to talk about the unexpected so much as the expected. Mostly because I believe it is common knowledge how awful it is to deal with death when you least expect it. But I don't think a lot of people really understand what it's like to deal with it when you've spent the last however long waiting for it to happen.
You see, when someone gets really old or really sick, you pretty much know that you don't have much longer with them. Sometimes they hang on longer than expected. Sometimes not. But either way, when you know the time is coming, every day is the waiting game. You're just waiting, helplessly, for the call that they're finally gone. And even though you knew it was coming, it still somehow comes as a shock to you. Yeah, okay, maybe they were 92 years old and no one was really all that confident that they'd make it to the family gathering the following weekend, but when it actually happens it's hard to believe.
Here is a little something that was printed in my great grandfather's funeral announcement card that I would like to share with you. While we may not always think of death this way, it is a really nice and comforting way to think about it when we're in the healing process. It is a snippet of a poem by Henry Scott Holland titled "Death Is Nothing At All":
Death is nothing at all --
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each other, we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used to.
Laugh as you always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together;
play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of you mind
because I am out of your sight?
I'm but waiting for you for an interval,
somewhere very near just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before,
better, infinitely happier and forever --
WE WILL BE TOGETHER