Death is natural. It’s as natural as living. We all die, we all know someone whose died and we all will die. One day. I’m mulling over death, and grief. Forever and always, I think. Is our grief compounded because we don’t live in villages anymore, and we don’t see death in our day to day? We hide away death, we have a funeral that lasts no time at all, we eat little sandwiches and say “I’m so sorry for your loss”. And then we grieve in private, smushing down those feelings we have as we try push through as if we’re fine? Untouched?
I wondered if people who work in funeral homes, doctors in the special care units, nurses in hospice, who deal with death on a regular basis have a healthier grief management system. Do they have a healthier emotional grieving process because they’re exposed to so much more grief? (I asked… I don’t think they do. The several people I asked said it was hard, but it wasn’t their personal pain. Plus they felt like they were helping people, making a difference. I guess having a virtuous purpose relieves some of that emotional weight).
As you can see I’m trying desperately to wrap my head and heart around death, considering we’re surrounded by it. Death is happening frequently to kids we know and love.
If death is natural, why do we fight feeling grief? Do I need to fight grief? Do I feel more grief, considering it’s children who are dying? Children we work so intensely hard to keep alive? If they lived longer, would I feel as hard done by? If they lived fuller lives, if they were less disabled? As horrid as it is, when an adult is sick, or has passed in my head I think, as an adult they had the opportunity to live. They traveled or loved or did whatever it is they wanted to do – they lived. They had time, they had years to fill with life. Our kids don’t have the same opportunities.
Is living and loving and having years and years before you die more natural? I think we have the expectation that that’s the order of how things are meant to go. Does that make it more natural though?
It hard to come to peace with loss. Loss is unavoidable, we’re attached to people and things and outcomes and expectations. I feel like grief is the weighted opposite of love. That the love that I have directly influences the grief I have… but if love is a natural as breathing and we feel such deep depths of love for our children, is grief natural too?
My question, I guess, is how do I survive this? How do I protect my heart from all the grief? How do I do that while still being open and part of the NKH community, while still loving all those other little terminal children? And if I’m open, if I’m vulnerable, how do I survive all the losses? The losses that keep coming?
I don’t have answers. I’m feeling what I’m feeling. I’m struggling, hey. The grief, it’s a real thing. Holding my boy a bit tighter today.