In another posting I had one thing I mentioned was the fact that a dear family friend has passed away. This lead me to have to write about it because when someone dies it is never really just one person. Physically yes one person died that you are mourning. Psychologically everytime someone you know dies, whether it is a loved one or just someone you talked to from time to time, all the pain of the losses before them tend to surface. We all at one time or another have suffered a great loss of someone important to us. It can be someone we knew very well and were very close to or it could be someone we never met but wish we had. The current person whose funeral we attend could be 100% different than the one we experienced with the person/persons who were a great loss to us. Yet we still are reminded of them no matter how differen the experience is or how different the festivities are to mourn the current person.
Maybe there are some who haven't experienced a great loss yet. To that I say you are very lucky and I hope that it doesn't happen anytime soon. There are some who have lost entire families in certain countries due to war..dictator type people...greed. For these people life is nothing but loss and yet they find a way to live everday. Maybe it is the loss of so many of their loved ones that makes them want to experience life as best they can to honor them. There are some who are at an age where they have lost grandparents only..some lost parents and grandparents...and some may have lost more family and friends than others. Then there are those who have never know their biological families because in their bad luck or maybe good fortune depending on the family...they are all gone. Sadly there are some who don't live to be old enough to lose anyone due to illness or violence or a tragic accident. Whatever the situation a person has currently, the one thing we can all count on is loss is in our future. Does this mean that we dishonor the person that we are currently mourning because we think of those we love that have already passed? That is up to you as a reader to have your own opinion on that question mine is absolutely not. In my eyes we honor the person more than we actually realize. Because we associate them with the great losses we have experienced and even if you barely knew this person that passed recently, it doesn't matter. We honor them because their death reminded us of those we loved and lost. By doing that we feel for those who that person was special too and we make that person special to us. It might only be for that hour or however long the services are...length of time doesn't matter...for that amount of time we let that person who passed become more special to us than they might have been alive.
I was one of those kids born to and older family. My parents got married in their middle to late 30's during the 80's and I was born about a year after they got married. My dad has been married before and has two daughters...for my mom it was her first marriage. I am the only child between my parents and this was not actually the plan. The plan was to have more after me but due to complications with me, my mom had to be satisfied with only one. While most of my friends grew up knowing their great grandparents and some their grandparents were within 5-10 years of age of my parents. I grew up only knowing one grandparent from each side..my mom's mom...and my dad's dad. Kind of beautiful actually having the gender parent of my parents still alive. My grandpa died 4 years before I was born and my other grandma died 19 years before I was born. I grew up being the youngest on both sides of my family...my sisters are 7 & 12 years older...the closest cousin I have is one year older and she is a second cousin. The other cousins are 3 years older or more and some are in their 40's some soon to hit 50's. To give you a full picture I am 26 so the age differences and life stages are vast in my family.
I always was rather jealous of my friends and the ironic part is they were jealous of me. The perks to having older parents is that they are more established in their careers and so they have more money to do more things. Younger parents often are on tighter budgets and tend to need to cut back. I speak from experience growing up in the 80's, 90's and 2000's when this was true. Now things are wildly different than they were back then. My friends were jealous I got to have more and do more than they could. The downfall to that was older parents means less energy for a hyper active child like I was..which means I spent a lot of time alone..trying to entertain myself. My parents are amazing people don't get me wrong..having more money meant more time working. I often was at daycare or at grandma's while they worked long hours and sometimes weekends. Most times those cute shows in elementary school you see during the day my parents couldn't attend and very rarely could they chaperone a fieldtrip. While my friends had a right to be jealous because I have amazing parents if they had seen the drawbacks maybe they would have felt a little more lucky.
I was jealous of my friends because some of them now have kids that their grandparents know and love. I have friends who lost great grandparents in their teens and had the chance to know them. Unless there was some freakish age thing I was never going to be so lucky to have that. Not having it made me appreciate the ones I had alive. Although I wish I would have realized it a lot sooner. I lost the only grandma I knew at 19, I watched her die right in front of me...take her last breath. It shattered my world like you wouldn't believe because we were really close. I was the only granddaughter she had and the only grandchild of the three that she got to see a lot. She was always happy to see me and would always have a smile on her face. Don't get me wrong I appreciated my grandma a lot..I always told her I loved her..always called or went to see her...listened to her many stories....always bought her flowers and did little things for her. The problem with me was I was too focused on my grandpa (her husband)...wanting to hear stories..wanting to see pictures..wanting to see films...looking at his stuff...asking what he would have thought of me. I was always asking my grandma about him and I know that she was okay with it. I still asked her about her life and her stories...just not as much as I should have. I didn't realize that until she was gone and I no longer would have her to tell me stories...or smile at me..or scold me...or do all those grandma things.
I realized that I should have done more and decided that I should spend more time with my grandpa who was alive still. So I did do just that and spent more time with my grandpa. It wasn't until I was 24 that I got to know him better than anyone else. I realized I didn't know a thing about my grandma who died long ago. So my interest peeked and I started to ask questions about her. This time I did things different, this time I had questions about her and questions about him as well. Soon enough grandma drifted out of the conversation and it was just me getting to know grandpa. He is a freakish tale..96 years old now..still able to drink normal..walk with a walker..and is still sharp as ever. What is freakish is the majority of the men in his family died young. Now grandpa tells people I know more about his life than he does and that I am his favorite. There is a small part of me that feels bad but a bigger part that doesn't..because I took the time with him and still do.
We lose someone we love and it is a painful thing. In a way it is selfish because the majority of our pain comes from them not being with us anymore. We acknowledge that they are in a better place and want that for them...we aren't that kind of selfish...we are the kind of selfish that can't imagine life without them. That selfish is the price we pay for loving them they way we did and that allows us to know how much we really did love them. We can all say we should have done this or that...we should have visited more..or called more. The fact is life sometimes gets in the way...our daily living that sometimes blocks us from being able to do those things we should have done. In all reality the person knows that and if you cared for them...loved them...appreciated them...took as much time as you could... the best you could..they know you loved them. If you didn't and you were estranged or whatever the case...maybe you feel guilty...some might even feel glad the person died (depending on the situation). Maybe we should all do a lot of things that we don't realize until it is too late. One thing we should not do...is allow the dead to make us neglect the living.
More from living