Contemplating Life & Death

I didn’t think I’d be writing here anymore. It sort of felt like I was done with this blog. Apparently not.

A couple of weeks ago one of my uncles passed away from a stroke. While I’ve been heavily affected by the loss on multiple levels, I’ve also found myself contemplating a lot, and been in a very weird, otherworldly headspace.

I have two aunts and one uncle left. Death is so strange. At my age, it seems inevitable that the older members of my family aren’t going to be around forever. That their time is growing shorter at a much quicker rate than when we’re younger and time seems to move extremely slowly. It feels like people are moving past and away from me, while I stay in this life and watch from the sidelines. I don’t know if any of this makes sense to anyone else.

While funerals have always been a confusing and weird event for me, I can also understand their value now. I hardly ever cried at funerals (the tears came during everyday living when I would think about the person and remember/realize they were gone). My thoughts were always that the person isn’t there anymore. That it’s just a body in a coffin. While I still know that, the fact that I couldn’t attend the last few funerals has messed me up even more. There’s no closure. It’s just words that people tell you. “They’re gone”. That body in the coffin seems to be a kind of closure, even if the thing that made that person a person is no longer there.

My uncle’s funeral wasn’t streamed live or recorded, so I wasn’t a part of it. What do I do now? I yo-yo between it not feeling real, and getting hit with the realization that it probably is. Probably?

Another thing. Many people feel comforted by the idea that their loved ones are looking down on them, or are with them in spirit. I don’t. Because I can’t get the thought out of my head that the person is well and truly gone. And, if they are still around in spirit, it’s not enough. It just makes me feel angry for some reason that I’ve yet to figure out. So to me, when a person is gone, they’re gone.

The memories are still there though. That’s one thing that doesn’t ever go away.

9 responses to “Contemplating Life & Death”

  1. I’m glad you wrote. I’ve been thinking about you. Condolences on the loss of your uncle. The closure comes in many ways, though not always with a funeral and certainly not with what some might think of as a proper goodbye. Nor does it typically come all at once. You may find yourself thinking, “I wonder what Uncle A thinks about this,” and then realizing he is not there to ask at just the moment you’d phone him. Moreover, you may learn more about him with time, even after many years, as you move through situations like those he experienced and pass through the decades of your own life. He might yet have something to teach you in this way.

    As you say, if you were close, the memories remain. We humans don’t do well with acknowledging the reality of death. For most of human history, people died at home. Now they are shipped off to hospitals or hospices, or we live away from them, and we don’t experience the reality of the event. And, of course, the losses pile up.

    In the meantime, we somehow recover from most losses of this kind. It doesn’t mean we become indifferent, but life goes on despite many hurts. And, if we try and are lucky, we receive support as we grieve and make new friends and find a way to laugh and remember what we are grateful for, including the best memories we hold of those who have departed. Such is life. Be well, Rayne.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Death can be so surreal and final and to not be able to attend the funeral makes it seems that much harder at least to me.. I am sorry.. not everyone gains comfort from the idea of an afterlife and each grief process is unique. be so gentle with yourself right now, all you are feeling is necessary for you.
    .thinking of you and sending love.

    Liked by 1 person

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