Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Momma always said dyin' was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't..."

Death. It's not an easy word to stomach. Nor is it an easy thing to deal with... ever. Today's memorial at school made me think of those who I've lost, and those who are still here.

In my junior year of high school, I lost my great-grandma. She was 94 when she passed away. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got to spend 17 of those 94 years knowing her. Some of my memories of her are from the week that she stayed with us when my grandparents (who took care of her for the last few years of her life) went on vacation. I can vividly remember coming home from school every day, and finding her sitting in the kitchen with my mom, sharing stories from when my mom was little, even when my grandpa was little. Every night before bed, we'd play cards together. Even though she was blind in one eye, and sometimes not "all there," she'd still win every time.

In February of my senior year, I lost my great-aunt. Like my great-grandma, my great-aunt was also in her 90s. It was really difficult toward the end of my aunt's life, simply because she was in some of the stages of memory loss. This put a lot of strain on my parents, but they persevered. My great-aunt, after my dad's mother passed away, stepped in and pretty much raised him and my aunt. She was like the grandmother I never got to meet. Even when we'd go out to eat with her, the waitress would always call her "grandma." Not unlike my dad, she was always predictable, too. The two of them (and sometimes even I) will look through a menu a few times, and still order the same thing. I can even remember what she'd order at Applebees and The Sesame Inn.

I'm usually not one to show a lot of emotion when I'm sad (I just like being happy, who doesn't?). I guess I try to be the rock for my family and hold it in. I probably shouldn't do that as much as I do... But it's just who I am. I try to be the go-to person when someone needs something, I help.

I have a handful of friends who have lost their fathers, too... I can't even imagine losing my dad. He and I have so much in common, so many jokes, stories, etc., that I just don't want to lose... ever. Sure, we might get on each other's nerves about grades, driving, and other nonsense, but that's what I love. He's one of the strongest people I know. He lost his mom in his freshman year of college, supported himself through college, and (of course I'm biased in saying this), but has been an incredible influence on my life, whether he knows it or not. (Heck, I even considered being an engineer at one point... Then I realized there was a lot of math involved. I also didn't realize that stats was going to make me want to metaphorically slit my wrists in psychology, but that's another story altogether).

Having those people that I'm able to talk to about anything in my life makes it so worth while. I was able to tell someone about my fears for my cousin being in the hospital. She's like a sister to my mom. Even though we're technically second cousins, we're so much closer than that. It scares me because I don't know what's going to happen next. I guess I wrote this just as a release of what I've been holding in... And it's been incredibly cathartic. Thanks, readers, for being there. I can only hope that I can always do the same for you.

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