-Death. Loss. Grief.-

While in the midst of writing about an entirely different topic, I felt compelled to stop and write about death, loss and grief instead (I know, how uplifting for a Saturday morning).  Death, loss and grief are something that we all experience in life.   Like that old saying, ‘the only guarantee in life is death’.  Is that statement supposed to be comforting?  Are we supposed to accept that fate and live our lives comfortably with the fact of that one guarantee, that one life ‘promise’?  That one terrifying, scary, unknown ‘date with fate’.   Now, this post isn’t all about scary death stuff, or how sad and depressing the end of life can be.  But that IS an important part to my story with death and loss, as it has consistently been at the forefront of my fears… often being THE fear. From a young age, I became familiar with death.  My first experiences being through a number of my good friends losing a parent to either cancer, stroke, or tragic accident.   Throughout the years to come, I would experience the loss of a number of close friends as well as family, due to various cancers, unexpected heart attacks, and overdose. I’ve known those that have taken their own lives, as well as people being killed in those ‘1 in a million’ type accidents.  Unfortunately even experiencing knowing people that have taken the lives of other humans (both by accident and sadly very much on purpose).  Some things I have learned… Death is inevitable (duh). Death is sad (also duh).  Death CAN be beautiful (whaaaaa?) I have learned my biggest and greatest lessons in life from experiencing loss and grief from death.  I have experienced the highest feelings of sadness and empathy imaginable for those closest to the ones passed.   I have been able to look at things from a completely different perspective and appreciate the fragility of life.  I spent many of my younger years ‘fearless’, death wasn’t a concern, it was an inevitable but it was a problem for future Emily to worry about, and oh how future Emily worried! Having health struggles throughout the years, accompanied by the many experiences with death close to me has consistently given me a glimpse into my own mortality and how I do or don’t want that to look for me (as if I get to chose). 
Does everyone have a preferred route out of this thing called life?   Does everyone want to live to be 100 years old and peacefully die in their sleep?    Is it the fear of not being here anymore, or is it the fear of how it may affect others once we’re gone.  The answers to those questions are no.   We don’t all have a preferred ‘route out of here’, and we certainly don’t all want to live to be 100.   I have known people that at a young age planned their own memorial service, down to the lights and songs and attendees, knowing that they had limited time left.  I’ve known others that only planned to go shopping that day with their bestie, and sadly never made out of the house.  There is no cookie cutter answer or plan to death, and even if you do plan it, the chances of it going accordingly are sorry to say, slim to none.   Having experienced both, I have often struggled with whether immediate and sudden death is harder to experience than the expected end of life, due to illness or age.  I still don’t have a clear answer to that either, but what I do know, is that taking everyday opportunities is essential to a fulfilled life.  What I do know, is that for some, the end of life is the greatest gift they could receive.  For them it is freedom.    What I do know, is that for me, as I experience and continue to struggle with the all-around ‘fear’ of death, it is more the loss that I fear and grieve than it is the death itself. It is the lost moments that won’t happen again. The lost laughter that will no longer be experienced with that person. The lost memories that although previous ones remain treasured, the opportunity to make new ones has come to a halt.  It’s the fear of change, and the permanence of that change. I have nothing profound to say to end this post with, except, take the opportunity to make things count while you can.  Make the call, or reach out when you think of someone fondly. Write the thank you card, to acknowledge someone’s efforts to include you in their life’s event. Answer the phone call. Tell someone how they inspired you in your life. Show up grateful and conscious of the opportunity you have today, the opportunity to live. Live your days with love and appreciation. And with all of that, don’t live your days in fear of death, you’ll have plenty of time for that when you’re gone 😉 <3