Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Endings

Endings can feel good or painful. I'm currently dealing with some painful ones. Yesterday morning an extended family member was killed in a car accident. He is the much beloved father of 10 children. He leaves an ex-wife/best friend and four grown children and a partner who is now raising 5 boys and one daughter alone.

Life endings are very painful for me. I have never experienced one that felt ok. Peaceful. Right. Both my grandfathers passed away when I was very young. I barely remember one and hardly the other. My grandmothers both died within a year of each other and they were truly my first experience with devastating loss. I had very strong connections with each of them. I felt screwed, quite frankly, to be without any grandparents by the time I was 16.

The wake for my grandmother, the first one who passed, was very difficult. I had never been to one. And my siblings, all older, knew this. So they stood with me as we entered the room where she lay in state at the funeral home. I remember my knees buckling at the sight and my eldest brother, Bill, and sister, Beth, sitting me down. My Nana Depper was over there. It was her... but it wasn't. It scared me and comforted me at the same time. I cried. I cried and cried. For this was my first real loss. The loss of my Nan. It hurt for a long time. Much like a heartbreak but different somehow. I spent a lot of time with my Nan before she left us. My only regret was that I didn't get to say good-bye. I would have liked to, though now I'm not sure my teenage brain would have understood how.

Before my Nana Casey passed away, I did get to see her. But she didn't see me. It was one of the saddest days of my entire life. Not the day she passed, but rather the last time I saw her. I didn't want to remember her hooked up to machines helping her breathe. I know my parents didn't intend for me to see her this way. We had thought she was getting better. But when we got there she had clearly taken a wrong turn. I remember my mother holding her head, brushing her hair with her fingers, saying "Breathe, Celia." I had to look away. It hurt too much. My Nana was tired. She wanted to go. I try to remember her telling me stories and singing me her Irish songs in her little girl voice. That was the Nana I loved so much.

I've had pets pass away, but never when I was present. I was either away or at college. It was sad to think of them and have the house feel so empty. More often than that though I am able to think of them and see pictures and remember them so happy and playful.

I'm truly blessed to have my family in tact and with me still. When I get brushed with death as close as I did yesterday, it makes me feel so overwhelmed. I have so much feeling for those who are experiencing the pain, it's exhausting. I try to let it go but I can't. I wrestle with it and think too much and end up feeling at a loss for days. Some call me compassionate, I think at times I empathize too much. Is that possible? I bear others pain as my own. I feel pain for them and their situation. But then worry about it happening to me and how I will deal and what will I do.

These thoughts darken my mind and make it hard to see the most wonderful things in front of me. But the Sunshine Boy that graces my days give me a reason to smile and move on and stop wallowing and grieving. He fills up my time and leaves me with little more than reflection on what I am experiencing and doing to make the dark thoughts pass. He puts an ending on the shadows, an ending that is good.

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