Wow, it must seem as if I am a dark and twisted kind of guy, who is focused on death with all this talk about dying and stuff.
Actually, I am not.
I reshaped this website last week, with the idea of looking closer at things that I want to add to or do more often in my life and taking a closer look at death and dying was something I thought I would be tackling in the future and certainly under different circumstances.
That changed when my sister Barb died yesterday, after battling bravely with her health for several years and changed everything.
Life, fate or whatever you chose to call it, does have a way of focusing things and the Muses determine that if I am going to write, this is what they will guide me through. I guess it is their way to help me navigate this rocky section of road that I am now on and help me get to the smoother sections that lay ahead.
Death is a part of life, as the Stoics say “Momento Mori” – “remember you must die” and will happen to us all at some point and time. No matter what your belief system is, death is still a huge mystery and nobody really knows what happens to “us” when we die. That unanswered question has been with human kind since we started thinking about what happens to us when we die.
That is one of the reasons for me at least, that the loss of a loved one is so damned hard, especially when we are unprepared for their death. We don’t know what has actually happened to them or if we will ever see them again. We can only hope they are there to meet us on the other side, when we too die and finally find out the answer to this ages old question.
Barb had pulled through so many other health related crises, that most of us believed she would pull through this time as well and there would be more time to talk, to laugh, and to reminisce about how things used to be. Unfortunately, Barb could not pull through this time, her body was too weakened by all the previous times and it was her time to cross the bridge to whatever comes next.
We go through so many different emotions after a loved one dies, thinking “if only I…(you add in the whatever)”.
The truth is that life’s twists and turns take us on paths we couldn’t anticipate and I think that is why so many of us go down that could’a, should’a, would’a line of thinking once someone we love has died, because we feel guilty about what we didn’t do while that person was still alive.
That is where I am now with Barb’s death yesterday.
I am thinking about how I should have done this or that…when it serves no purpose to think that way at all. Like everyone else, Barb and I had our own lives to live and we did. Unfortunately or fortunately, those lives took us to different places and the paths we strode upon did not cross as often as either of us would have liked.
All my thoughts of could’a, should’a or would’a that I am having now, are more that I will never see or talk with her, be the butt of her stinging sarcasm or hear her laughter – again. Those of us who knew and loved Barb will have regrets about things that were left unsaid or undone, but the memories of who she was and how she lived will remain within us.
We will all continue to live our lives the best that we can now that Barb is gone. Going forward is the only thing that can be done, and the living must go on living even if our lives are lessened by her absence.
I will close this post by quoting Seneca and having changed his words to meet what I want to say, but not the true meaning.
Has it then all been for nothing that you have had such a sister as Barb? During so many years, amid such close associations, of being part of our family has nothing been accomplished by her? Do you bury being family along with Barb? And why lament having lost her, if it be of no wonder to have known her? Believe me, a great part of those we have loved, though chance has removed their persons, still abides within us. The past (memories) are ours, and there is nothing more secure for us than that which has been.’Originally written by Seneca and changed to meet my needs.
Goodbye Barb, you were well-loved and will be missed by us all.
Not sure how you wrote that the day after your sister died.
It all rings true.
I have three siblings and can’t imagine loosing them.
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Andy – strangely enough, I use my writing to process my thoughts and get through these sections of life’s journey that get a little rocky. It forces me to focus myself and think about how I feel about what is happening to and around me. 🙂 It is tough to loose a sibling or other loved ones, but as we get older it becomes something that you deal with more than you want to. Life will get better again, it just takes time. 🙂
I get it. I vent through writing…it’s a safe and accessible outlet, especially if you don’t feel like speaking the words aloud.
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Thank you for sharing during such a difficult time. I already fight with the shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’s for family members who are still with us. I regret decisions I made and things I didn’t say from the past…as young as 9 years old. I feel those ships already sailed. I said NO to a fishing trip with my Dad. For no reason other than I was cranky and hormonal. He is still alive, but I already regret not taking that fishing trip with him. I try to make it up now, but I will forever regret saying no to that fishing trip. I can’t even imagine how I will feel once he’s passed. A good reminder though…make the most of NOW. Tell them you love them (even if you’re angry), appreciate their presence (even if you don’t feel like being there), and say YES (even if you don’t want to at the time). Because one day, you might regret it. I’m sorry for your loss.
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Thank you. If you have the time and opportunity to do things with family and friends when it does not interfere with your family’s life then do it. Making the most of now is important, but living a life you are comfortable with is more important. Sometimes our paths and our families lives go in different directions and that is okay, that is life. Sometimes you have to live the life you have and make the best of the results. Do the best you can and when people die try not to have regrets or a case of the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.
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I’m with my mom right now. She is a fighter but she probably won’t see dawn. Always questions unasked, things not said or done. I’m realizing I will never get to ask her who was in that picture and stuff like that.
Andy, I wish you the best and if there is anything you need that I can do while you are going through this difficult time, please let me know. Loosing your Mom is one of the hardest things that will happen to you, but you have to remember the good life that she had the how she will live on in you and your family’s memories. My prayers are with you my friend.
Thank you. She passed tonight.
I am so sorry for you and your family. Be well my friend.