Ironically this has been a topic haunting me all this week. Today I will go to a viewing for a childhood friend who lost her mother to a two year illness. Although I'm used to viewings and funerals the words that you speak just never seem to come out right.
Paula I had known over the years but we didn't always keep in touch. She was from an Italian family as was I, so I knew if I really needed her she's be there and vice versa. If years went by I knew where ever Paula was, she was still my friend. A few months ago she expressed to me that she was spending all her time with her mother who was ill. I encouraged her to do that, because life is too short to have regrets.
Just last week I was talking to my other childhood friend Bonnie about how much I missed her sister Tina (my childhood friend), who left us suddenly having an asthma attack. Sadly, Bonnie and Tina were in the middle of a sisterly argument which makes the grieving process all the worst.
It still haunts me that in 1996, I lost my grandmother, who was like a mother to me. The worst part for me, was watching her succumb to a painful and swift pancreatic cancer, that drained the life out of her--and being able to do NOTHING but tell her every day how much I loved her. As she was going she told me, "You will never get over it, but you will deal with it better."
Have I learned to deal with it better? I think the only thing that keeps me half way sane is working 24/7. Perhaps some of us choose to not deal with things while others let it consume them.
The other day I had an acquaintance tell me in so many words that "none of this compares to the death of her son", who was killed in cold blood. I was pretty upset, because in the grand scheme of things, whose to say what is worse?
I told her, that death impacts us all, and each of us choose to grieve in our own ways.
So today I contemplate is a slow and painful death any worse than a brutal murder? Would a car accident be preferable to a death from AIDS? Slipping away in your sleep would be the ultimate way to go many people say, but those involved still won't think so--to them it's the hardest thing one ever has to deal with. To each of us, losing someone we love is the single most hardest thing in the world. Many of us use our faith to deal with such things. Others never really accept them.
Someone told me once dying is part of living. I know my grandmother looks over me and I feel her near sometimes. If I told you I'd seen her as an angel vision you probably wouldn't believe me, but I did. So because of this, I'm not scared of death or dying, because it is part of living. Life must go on, though we can hurt inside, we must find a way to keep going.
So today Paula when I see you I might not have the words to say but know my hug means we've been through a lot in life and I love you. You are strong and you will get through this too. Your mother was one of the best I'd known, and you were so lucky to have her all these years.
Joanna P. Warfield
(March 22, 1942 - June 20, 2010)