I have been riding an interesting emotional roller-coaster in the last few days. My grandmother – who has had her share of health problems in the last few years but is really very healthy considering her age – was diagnosed with a type of pneumonia. She has been in the hospital, and while she will probably recover, it was looking questionable for a time.
For the first time, I had to seriously consider the imminent death of someone close to me. I have had people die that I was related to, but none that I knew really well. The emotional reaction was strong. Laura tried to comfort me, expressing her sorrow for my pain, but that only forced me to consider what I was feeling. As a pragmatist, I accept death as a natural part of live. It is not truly a tragedy for a good person to die after a long and full life – especially if the death also brings a cessation of pain to that person. I was not feeling fear, despite the fact that I have never experienced the death of someone so close to me before. I discovered how natural and unstoppable the sorrow and pain of loss is when death approaches (even before it arrives in cases like this). The thing that I realized is that the pain is healthy, and spurs the healing process, so long as we let the pain pass through us, rather than holding on to it as if it was all that was left of our loved one.
Part of my sorrow was that I have just moved far from my grandmother, so I feel a little more helpless and out of touch that I had previously. I guess that’s okay too. I am living my life just as she would wish me to do. She certainly would not want me to be paralyzed by her health.