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My grandmother died last week. As it turns out, what we thought were side effects from her alzheimer’s medication turned out to be related to a much more serious health problem: Cancer. My mother and aunt took her into the doctor last Monday and were immediately told to take her to the hospital. Three days later, she was gone.
How long did she have cancer for? We don’t know. How did it go undetected? Beats me. It doesn’t really matter. She’s dead now. Needless to say it has been a tough past few days, what with Mother’s Day and all. But with my grief also came relief: Relief that she is no longer suffering; relief that she is no longer feeling depressed and wanting to die; relief that maybe -just maybe- she’s with my grandpa somewhere, dancing with him like they used to do. Sometimes, death is a relief.
As I watched her take her last breath, it made me acutely aware of my own mortality, and of life’s “bigger picture.” One day, I too will die. One day, I will want nothing more than to feel that I have lived a full, happy life, because one day that’s all that will matter. Depression, sorrow, anxiety over the small stuff… None of it matters in the end. It’s just wasted time and energy. The world keeps turning no matter what. And to think, not long ago I seriously considered ending my life because I couldn’t see the good in this world.
Every time someone close to you dies, it is a major turning point in your life, should you choose to see it that way. For me, I reflect on the fleeting nature of life on this planet, and my life changes course and gets back on the track that I want to be on: The track of appreciation for every breath we are granted; for every joy; for every moment spent with the ones we love. Death is hard, but it is a beautiful reminder of the sanctity of life. It is so easy to get off track -as I well know- and to begin to see the world in a negative light. Stress, anxiety, depression, anger, sorrow, grief, hurt, pain… These are all very real emotions and they too are a part of life. But we must try not to let them cloud our vision. We must look for the good, because there is just as much good in this world as there is bad. Happiness, laughter, love, togetherness, connections, joy, euphoria, friendship, intimacy, family… We tend to take these things for granted because we are too preoccupied with all of the negative emotions. But that does not mean that they are not there. Sometimes you need to believe in the good to know it exists, whether it is clear or not. Through the loss of my grandmother, the remaining members of my family are now even closer than we were. The people who don’t matter are farther away. The bad falls apart, and only the good remains close to my heart.
To my grandma, my grandpa, my uncle, my cousin and my friends that I’ve lost over the past few years, I miss you all like crazy and would give anything to have you back, but the lessons you’ve taught me by leaving are priceless, and are worth almost as much to me as you all are. Thank you. I love you.
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