We received word that my grandmother passed this morning…
She suffered a stroke a few months ago and her health had been quickly deteriorating since… So in some way, I suppose we were expecting it. But does one ever really expect death? No matter how much you “anticipate” it… No matter how much you “prepare” for it… No matter how many times you tell yourself it’s “part of life”… It’s “for the best”… It’s God’s divine will… Do you ever really… Do you ever truly expect it?
A professor of mine once explained that memories aren’t individual snippets of past experiences. Instead, he believed they were like multiple layers, loosely strung together. Each memory, therefore, was easily triggered by seemingly unrelated events. My sister’s call this morning was like that. Triggering thoughts of the last time I saw my grandmother… the last time I saw my mother cry… sounds of women wailing… holding a former student at his mother’s funeral… seeing a familiar face at a church member’s ceremony… a hospice hospital bed in the dining room… And Suddenly I found myself on my bedroom floor, flooded by all the unrelated moments of grieving in my life… Strung together at the core by one, the loss of my older sister.
Does one ever truly expect death? I prayed for healing for seven months. I prayed that I would suffer in her place. And then, in a moment of acceptance, I prayed for peace… And she died… Still unexpected.