I have this goal of writing more personal blog posts about things that go on in my head because it feels all so constant and chaotic. For the first time since having this goal I feel the need to talk about my current emotions, or rather, the lack of them in a time I’m trying to desperately feel something. It’s all so much harder than I realized, and I have no idea why.
Death is hard to deal with, especially since we live in a society that seeks immortality and infamy.
I recently lost someone very dear to me this past weekend and it’s taken me nearly a week to really talk or wrap my head around it. I can’t seem to convince myself that she’s actually gone. Maybe it’s because I never got to say goodbye, even though as I left her house one Friday night about two months ago I wondered if it would be my last. I hugged her extra tight and hoped not as I left for my commute home.
This phenomena has me realizing how important goodbyes are. I think people are complex and interesting, but I don’t think I’ve ever given the grieving process the credit it deserves because every time I’ve had to deal with death I’ve had my moment of closure. This time I didn’t, and I’m not the only one.
This person was coworker of mine, more specifically a boss of sorts, and we grew very close. She became a close friend, a mentor, and a mother figure. She had this effect on many people, especially at work where we prided ourselves on being one giant family, and whether we admitted it or not, she was the leader of it.
Cancer is a cruel thing, too. I’ve heard stories on how cruel, but now I know from experience. With a mixture of vanity, pride, and this absurd need to not want to be a burden, my dear friend kept her terminal diagnosis a secret from nearly everyone except a select few. I was lucky enough to be included in her inner circle, dropping her off at radiation appointments when she needed it or picking up her favorite food when I could. But I had to keep it all a secret, and the friends and family involved vented to each other as our only outlets.
This leaves all the other people who cared for her out of the loop and completely oblivious to the seriousness of her illness, so when she passed away the only emotion people can seem to wrap there head around is confusion. It went from seeing her every day, then her missing a few days of work here and there, and then suddenly she stopped showing up all together with no explanation.
And even worse, now she’s gone.
So when the news trickled down the grapevine about her passing no one seems to understand the how, why, when of it, and instead theres always a reflexive shake of their head that so obviously reads, ‘no, that’s not possible’. And also this resistance to inevitable change has her desk is emptied and routines are forced to shift.
I don’t know how to make it better or process it all more clearly. It’s another life lesson that we’re all bound to learn within so many different angles of our lives–And this is the remedy of time. When we don’t get goodbyes we can only turn to time, which is never fun (usually).
It’s taken me a week to admit she’s gone, and I haven’t allowed myself to cry yet, but I’m sure that’ll be another level that will be painful but also help me cope and process it all. I assume it’ll come in the form of sorting through photos of her for the slideshow I’m creating for her Celebration of Life, which I feel lucky enough to be a part of.
So all in all, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Maybe that I’m sorry if you’ve ever experienced what I’m going through, because it does suck. You just don’t value that goodbye until you’re not allowed it. In this case for me, visitation rights were barred for over a month and I knew the clock was ticking, but I tell myself I last saw her in a better light than having to witness the last effects of cancer. The last time I saw her we talked movies, and I found out she loved Fiddler on the Roof, and I witnessed how giddy she gets, a grown woman, when her mom flies from outta state to sit on the couch with her. It was these cute little things I remember being the last insights into who my friend was, and I cherish them.
So, I’m passing onto you that although it’s hard, and confusing, it’s going to be okay. Just let time do its thing, kinda like a bad break up, but don’t dwell on the negative. Remember how incredible that person was, and pass on the stories of their life and don’t let the memory of them get sucked into the vortex of confusion and unrest. It’s not fair to their soul.
They deserve to live on through the people that loved them.