My grandfather dying was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience. We were very close, with my family living a mere eight minutes away from my grandparents. His death was sudden and shocking.
But I’m still not going to talk about it. Instead, I’ll tell you what I learned from it. What I learned is how precious this gift of life actually is and how easily it can be taken away. Then it put a few thoughts in my head. The first being my own mortality.
Since my grandfather died, I feel like I’ve had to face my own mortality head on. Life doesn’t stop for anyone. And the realization that I could die at any moment (from my severe allergies or a car accident) has created a seemingly bottomless fear and an intense, deep loneliness that comes with it.
I’ve always said that I don’t fear death, but that’s a lie. I don’t believe in heaven or the classic Christian God, and the idea of me just not existing terrifies me. I almost wish I could believe in God and heaven. It would be comforting knowing that I could see my grandfather again someday, dancing through clouds in utter bliss. But I can’t.
Because of this new fear I have, the fear of my own mortality and the fragility of my existence, I’ve felt like a victim of time, like every second of my life is a drop of sand that hits the bottom of the hourglass of my demise. But now I’ve changed. I’m not living life through Mondays and Tuesdays, months, years, or even down to a single minute. I’m living my life in moments, even it’s something as little as having a cup of coffee or laying out in the sun. I only get one life and I’m not going to waste it.
This brings me to my second thought. I know my grandfather knew I adored him. So, although I did not get to say a proper goodbye, I’m comforted by the certainty of him knowing that. But then I think that, if I died tomorrow, I would hope that everyone I loved knew how I felt about them. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. It’s not as easy as it sounds, telling someone you love them.
So my advice to you is that if you have someone you love (a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, literally anyone) when you see them, tell them how much you love them. But still, know that love is just a word until somebody comes along and gives in meaning.