Grief: When Death Comes to Visit

Death books

Death Introduced Herself

Death appeared to me for the first time in 2001. She made herself known while I was visiting my grandmother in the hospital. 

My nana had been in a diabetic coma for several days. Every day a large group of family and friends gathered in her hospital room. We all wanted nothing more than for her to wake up. We prayed every evening when visiting hours were coming to a close.

One evening, as we gathered around my nana for prayer, a presence drew my attention to the corner of the room. It wasn’t something I could see, yet the fact was undeniable.

My body began to shake when it finally dawned on me what I was sensing. Death’s presence was filling the corner of my nana’s room. Her energy was palpable. 

Although terrified, I managed to hold it together until the prayer was over. Once everyone said amen, I immediately ran out of the room. At this point, I was crying uncontrollably.

I found a dark corner of a nearby waiting room, collapsed on a chair, and wept. A few days later, my nana passed away.

Grief

A couple of weeks after the services, I was back at home. The grief was unbearable at times, and I drank heavily because I didn’t have healthy coping mechanisms. One evening I felt Death’s presence at my front door. 

She called my name through the closed door and told me she wanted to help me with my grief. Although her presence felt different on this occasion, I was still terrified.

I never opened the door. I was too scared to let her in.

Eventually, she left.

Death Returns

Death came again in January of 2010. This time it was my mom who first noticed her presence. My mother received hospice care at home. One day, I thought my mom was sleeping, but I looked over and noticed that she was reaching for something that I couldn’t see. She reached straight up in the air as if she were waiting for someone to lift her. She was smiling.

Initially, I thought she was trying to get out of bed, so I said to her, “Mom, you can’t get up. Do you need me to get you something?” She looked at me, still smiling, and replied that she wasn’t trying to get up, yet she continued to reach upward.

It was then that I felt Death’s presence. Why hadn’t I noticed her before? Sneaky b!tch, I snarled. This time, I wasn’t scared. I was angry. Get the fu-k out, I thought.

Grief

A month or so after my mom’s passing, I was a f’ing mess. The grief consumed me. To the outside world, I appeared to be coping, but, in actuality, I was spiraling fast!

I was at a particularly low point when Death knocked at my door again. A persistent b!tch.

She again called through the door, stating that she wanted to help me with my grief; I told her to f__k off.

But this time, she didn’t leave, though. Instead, she stayed on my doorstep and said that whenever I was ready, she would be there.

Death would occasionally knock on my door as days turned into months and eventually years. Each time she asked if I would let her in. Each time, I denied her entry.

A Sweet Song

In 2018, Death tried a different approach. Instead of knocking, she began to sing outside my door. She sang so beautifully that her melody spoke to my soul, and my inner being pleaded with me to let her in.

Fine, I thought. I will let her in and finally let this b!tch have it. I could finally scream at her and explain how she had ruined my life.

But as soon as she entered, she hugged me tightly, and I melted. She held me close and wouldn’t let go until I grieved. She helped me to finally grieve.

I hadn’t realized how much pain and anger I was carrying until I felt safe enough to look at it and then release it. Death helped me to release my anger and sorrow. She comforted me. She revealed the beauty of Death by reminding me about the beauty of life, the beauty of my life.

As she left, she whispered, “Remember.”

Embracing Death

On Valentine’s Day 2021. Death returned. This time, I knew she was on her way, and I knew she was coming for my father. I didn’t wait until I felt her presence. Nor did I wait until she knocked at my door. Instead, I lit a candle and told her to use the flame to tell me when she was on her way.

When the candlewick began to pop and crackle, I opened the door and welcomed her in. Once again, she held me while I wept and comforted me until I was ready to let go. Then, she kissed me on my forehead and left.

Recently, someone asked me if I was scared of dying, specifically if I was scared of dying alone. Before I knew it, I was laughing. My friend looked at me oddly, so I responded, “Death is my friend; she has visited me often. Why would I be scared of her? Why would I be scared to greet her alone?”

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

                                      – Socrates

 

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