Slowly, my mental and emotional state are coming back to an equilibrium. My thoughts still tend towards life and death, and our relationship with death…well, specifically my relationship with death…and why we react the way we do upon hearing news of someone’s death, whether that person was close to us or not. Obviously, our reaction to the death of a loved one is vastly different than that of the death of a stranger. But the feeling of shock and sadness is the same. The “why??“‘s, “that’s not fair!“‘s is the same. The sudden slap in the face of, “oh crap, time is not limitless and you truly never know when your time is up” is the same.
Grief is intermixed with the fear that comes up when being faced with your own mortality. Along with the grief of losing a loved one comes the questions of,
“What would happen if I die today?”
“What will people say about me?”
“Have I truly lived my life to its fullest?”
“Am I living my live as if it’s temporary, because that’s exactly what it is.”
“Do I even realize what a gift I’ve been given with each day that I have on this earth?”
And to make the emotional rollercoaster even rockier, the guilt comes.
“Why didn’t I call more?”
“When was the last time we spoke?”
“Did I even ask how he was doing? Omg no I didn’t because I was so caught up in some mundane thing at the time…”
“Did he know that I truly cared about him?”
“Did I ever tell him how proud I am of him for doing exactly what he sought out to do?”
I still don’t understand why we feel this way about death. And by “we” I really mean me because who am I to say what others go through in their grieving process? But I suspect it’s not too different. And although my heart still hurts from the unexpected deaths of my cousin and of my friend, my thoughts are starting to take a more positive spin. I’m refusing to keep on turning a blind eye to the fact that I will die someday and so will all of my loved ones. Instead, I am actively thinking about how I’m living my life and how I keep nurturing my relationships that are so important to me. In a response to someone asking him what his message was to the world, Ghandi said that his life is his message, and I intend to do the same.
I am not in control of how others receive my message or how I’m viewed but what I am in control of is one, figuring out what I want my message to be and two, doing my best to ensure my words and actions reflect that message.
Once I started thinking about what my message is I realized I’ve actually felt this way for a long time, I just never consciously put words to it. If there’s one thing I hope to leave my friends and family with when it’s my time to pass, it’s this:
Be true to who you are.