Death is so hard for humans. It is mostly inopportunely timed. I think I have only heard once or twice in my life people actually say it was a good thing and they were happy about it or they understood it.
I remember when my Great-grandmother died we were not upset. She was 99 and died in her sleep and we were actually happy and realized that she had lived a good long life and departed in the best possible way, quietly, naturally with no pain. We were happy for her. So none of us cried or were remorseful. Looking back on it now, I am so glad we handled it this way and realize it was sensible and people have to start having some sensible reactions to some deaths.
I understand if you lose a spouse unexpectedly in their prime or before their time that it is very hard and you’ll be shocked and traumatized beyond belief. To be rocked off your foundation with grief can be justified by turmoil and tears. Who is ready for that, and who knows what to say in that situation? What is really going to help. other than a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on? Only time and strength and happy memories will pull you through this tough situation. Having the love and support of family and friends around you hopefully will bolster your strength through the tougher times. As they say, time heals all wounds. It is a tough saying, and if you haven’t been through it, it’s unimaginable.
I’ve heard another man who just lost his mother, who was 87 and healthy. He is in his 50’s and he was relatively close with her. She went to sleep and didn’t wake up and when offered condolences he smiled and said “Thank You, but she lived a good life and went the best possible way.” That was the most healthy and refreshing reaction to death I’ve heard in so long. I was so proud of this man. Instead of bitching and moaning about the loss of his Mom he realized, as I think is the correct reaction, that ALL people have to die and especially older folks who are closer to this inevitable date with destiny, that she went the best way possible that why not accept it with grace and be happy that it was the best case scenario and rejoice if you believe in an afterlife with your religion? Amen!
I am kind of sick of people wondering why people have to die…really, when the people are 75, 80, 85? People are serious, too…and I don’t mean to sound so tough and cold-hearted I just think that then we are undermining the true sadness and sympathy where it belongs for the young and the ill.
As I’ve said everyone must die, it’s just a fact of life, from the moment we’re born, we’re dying. . . so I just don’t understand why people are so surprised when it happens when it’s expected. I think people need to start to be realistic when all the signs are pointing that way. Or as our parents are getting older, I think we should prepare ourselves. I know I am ready for both my parents to go. I’ve always been close to them.
As people age we must take into account their quality of life. As they get older and sick and deteriorate we need to remember this when we think of their death. If you or they have faith or religious beliefs try to remember that, keep the belief to help you keep strong when you think of their death and realize they’ll be going to a better place. They may not even be that happy here on earth anymore, so when they go, it is not so tragic, they’ve lived their life. It’s the circle of life, so celebrate their life and let them go. Save your horror and sympathy for the young who die before their time. But even then, hopefully they too are going to a better place. Inevitable we are all going to go there. There is no avoiding it, so to try to make peace with this reality may make your life more pleasant and easier.
I don’t mean to sound hard-hearted, I’ve just learned to accept this type of attitude after I had a serious illness myself and after having to deal with my parents care. My mother has Alzheimer’s and having to watch her deterioration before my eyes has helped me accept the concept of impending death and my acceptance of it. Perhaps it would be merciful for my Mother’s spirit to fly free, and not stay here trapped in a body that is no longer “her”. My Dad also is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and as he loses his control of his body, I know he isn’t happy, he is just hanging on to life for my Mom and the financial implications. What a shame. Perhaps he would be happier going onto whatever is after this life. I believe he is tired and ready. So, I will shed tears for my memories and love for my parents when they go, but also out of happiness that they have finally been released from their suffering. And if there is something better for them to go to, I know they will looking down on me, watching over me and I will be happy knowing they are in a better place and they lived a good long life and have been rewarded for being good people and good parents.
(C) Written by Evelyn Garone 3/2011