Everyone has different experiences and connotations with death. Almost everyone has lost someone. It’s unavoidable. We will all be faced with it at least once in our lives, even if it’s our own deathbed.
It may be normal, but it’s a damn scary thing in all cases. The life is drained from a body and taken… who knows where. We can’t even be certain that there is life after death. All we know is life, so how can there even BE death? It’s such an unfathomable thing to consider.
After any death, all you can think about is the past. The memories you shared with them, the good and bad times. On the other hand, what if you didn’t even get to share memories with them? Then you think about what could have been the future.
The self-help books that people force you to read say the same thing every time; everyone grieves in their own way, it’s okay to feel sad, you need to talk to someone. They don’t help. The only thing you feel like doing is crawling under your bed for a year. But you can’t do that. You have responsibilities and school or work. Family, friends, people that need to make sure of your well-being. And maybe that helps you for a while, to distract yourself and pretend that you’re just like everyone else. Then, late at night, with your makeup off and your contacts out, you’re all alone with yourself. No facades; there’s no one to fool. You’re stripped bare, lying with just your emotion. Free to criticize yourself, to feel everything you’ve been packing away all day. So that’s what you do.
You find new ways to blame yourself for what happened. You think about how you could have helped. The last thing you said to them. Did you leave them in anger? Did they leave angry at YOU? Or you think, “It’s all okay, because I said goodbye and I love you,” but you start to doubt yourself. You think, “Should I have been by their bedside when they passed on? What if I didn’t spend enough time with them? Could I have spent more time with them? Did they know how much they meant to me?”
And you let yourself go. Who cares what you look like, you just encountered death. You don’t eat, or you eat too much. You’re tired all the time, either because you can’t sleep, or just because the burden weighs you down. You become uninterested in things that you used to love. You don’t feel like doing anything.
Oh, when people find out. It’s so awkward. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” What are you supposed to say to that? I was raised to say “It’s okay” when people apologize. but recently, I’ve had to let go of that instinct, because it’s NOT okay. And they always ask how you’re doing. How do they think you’re doing? Fantastic? No, never. But you say you’re okay, or good, because that’s another automatic response.
But, through all this, you live. You have to. They wanted you to.