Thoughts on death from the living

Dear Grace,

It’s been 2 years and I miss you immensely. I think I’ve come to a point where I’m rational enough to think about death ‘objectively’, and I’ve gone past the mourning stage where it always hurts when I think about you. I have a pretty decent amount of followers here, so I hope that my roller coaster of a ride pre and post death concise into 3 major learning points will help anyone who is going through it/anyone who may go through it in the future.

Longing:

There are 2 types of longing that come with death, the ‘I long for one more day that I can be with you to ______’ and the ‘ I long to be like you, in terms of _____’

1. The ‘I long for one more day that I can be with you to ______’ This is pretty natural after death and to which I’m no stranger to; I wish I had been a better friend I wish I had called you more often and visited you more often I wish I could apologise to you in person I wish I had one more day with you I wish I had closure with regards to your death it was so sudden I wasn’t ready to let you go. This kind of longing is natural but shouldn’t be harped on for too long; I have spent too much time thinking about me and what I need (Ollie today said that mourning is very self centred), but when really death is a celebration of a persons life. Instead of thinking about all of the things you could have done better, think of all the times you shared together, and the many things that you wish to celebrate, to thank whomever for having existed in your life. With that being said, I do think that a period of mourning is healthy and should be done, but remember that you are not yet dead and you still need to continue with life. This isn’t an easy thing to do, I still struggle with it now, but always remember that death has been defeated.

2. The ‘I long to be like you, in terms of ______’ My GP teacher once said that death has a very ‘halo’ effect on a person, no one remembers (or chooses to remember) all of the negative things in that persons life. You’d never hear someone going ‘He/She was a great person, kind hearted and loving, good friend, but sometimes she was a bit arrogant.’ Maybe not appropriate to do during a service or when giving a eulogy, but I like to remember Grace as a whole, not just the good parts. When I describe Grace to people I tell them that she’s a very loving girl, who cares a lot about her friends and her family, who bakes really well and who has a voice of an angel. But I also tell people that she used to annoy me a lot because she talked too much. I view her entire life as it is, her entire personality as it is, and I draw lessons from her life as a whole. How she continuously pursued friendships though people would push her away because she was too annoying. I long to be like her; I learn.

Loving: 

Within a year of Grace’s passing my grandfather died, also from cancer. It may or may not cross your mind, but for me the thought of having to lose another person I loved was too much to bear. I considered the pros and cons of loving, whether loving someone and the pain and hurt you feel when you lose the person was worth it. If anything looking at their lives inspired me to continue loving, and to love harder. On the night of Grace’s service I looked around and it was filled to the brim, some people were standing some were sitting on the floor because the chairs provided weren’t enough. I marvelled at how many people Grace had managed to touch in her short life here on Earth, how she loved each and every person in that room so much that they had to come down to pay their respects although it was a school night. I think back about the impact she had on my life, and how I would probably be a pretty different person if she hadn’t chosen to love me. It makes you think about the kind of impact you leave on someone that you love, and it makes you question how you love and why you love. The lesson I learnt from Grace in this aspect is this: love everyone, whether they are weird or your complete opposite. Everyone deserves love and Grace has dealt it out to more people than I will ever know.

Living:

It’s been 2 years since she passed on and it hasn’t been any much easier. I say this knowing that many will disagree (this whole post is my personal opinion so if you don’t like it/agree with it that’s fine), and I’ve said it many many times to many different people, but I don’t believe time heals. A very big thing that struck me was that time doesn’t slow down for anyone; the day that Grace passed away I immediately went to Timo and cried and cried and cried, and after that walking through Bishan Park back to the carpark for my mom to pick me up I noticed that everything was always as it is. People were running and kids were shouting and playing and the only thing that was different was that people were staring at the crying girl. No matter how much the death impacted you it doesn’t slow down time, and it is foolish to think otherwise. I am digressing hahaha. When I think back to when I first got the news that Grace passed away it hit me super hard, since I was initially planning to go and visit her in the hospital with Ollie after I ended school. That raw pain I felt then I still feel up till today. Some days are better than others where I walk past something that reminds me of her and I thank God for her life and for her, other days I listen to a song that reminds me of her and I feel the raw pain I felt when I heard the news. But it’s always important to remember time doesn’t slow down. I guess ultimately what I’m trying to get at in this point is that time doesn’t heal, but life goes on and you need to remember that though she is dead you are still living, and you need to be able to move on. Time doesn’t heal, but time helps you to somehow cope with it.

It is important for you to surround yourself with people who encourage you and who don’t tell you to ‘faster get over it it’s been 2 years why are you still crying’. I am grateful for my family, for Timo, and for Pris and Ollie for being with me the whole of today, and for helping me to celebrate her life. If all else fails, I take heart in knowing she’s in a better place and that one day I will join her.

I miss you Grace, and I love you

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