I am lucky enough to have not had to say too many final goodbyes, but oh my, love and loss are bittersweet.
I met my partner almost a year ago and we’ve been together ever since. If you’ve been following along for a while, you might know that he struggles with terminal illness. This isn’t a post about him but I felt it made the most sense to start off this way. Months back, death for me was the most uncomfortable topic. The mere thought of it sent me into a flurry of panic. The thought of losing my partner was unfathomable. Little by little though, I realised it helped him to talk not only about the way he was feeling but also about the possibility he may not be here one day. There was a time where that sounded morbid to me.. I’d tune out when he spoke of death and later I’d panic. Would I wake up the next morning to the news he was no longer with us?
The irony is that I am comfortable with the thought of myself moving on. Death is finality, but at the same time it’s only the beginning. What cleaner slate is there? My partner taught me not to live in fear of what is to come, what may happen. He reminded me I’d find freedom in not knowing and that one day he’d find that too.. in coming home. After all, what is there for us to do? We are given a certain amount of time and it is ours to do with what we want. The most we can do is love each other to the best and fullest of our abilities.
Early yesterday, I lost my grandfather. He’d been in hospital for two weeks, stuck in a coma the doctors had induced. He had suffered a fall and as a consequence of that, bleeding to the brain. This wasn’t the first but one of many accidents he’d had. We didn’t expect this to be goodbye.. but then again, nobody does. I remember being so shocked when I heard the news. How surreal is it that someone can be with us one moment and then gone the next? When things remain constant for so long, you start to forget they could one day change.
Oh, the last time I saw you, the last time you were healthy and awake. Three months ago, at least. I stayed over at your place, this beautiful, grand house up in the Blue Mountains. A place where the air is chilly but home is warm. What were the last words we exchanged? I try and tell everybody close to me that I love them. What better note to finish on? It was early in the morning, or late.. I guess that depends who you ask. I just remember being tired. I came down the stairs to find you sitting comfortably in your recliner, the TV blaring in the background. You had this cheeky half smile on your face, this glint in your eye as you hailed praise to the new day. We exchanged a smile and you moved to the kitchen, looking to the fruit bowl on the bench.
Grandma told me about the breakfasts you used to make her. I remember having a few myself. Freshly squeezed orange juice, pancakes.. other times cereal and toast. I remember other things too, like how good of a listener you were. I always felt supported by you. I regret the fact that we weren’t closer though. I just needed more time with you. Then there was that time in January when we built my bed. I had just bought it from Ikea and was stoked with the purchase. I could finally get rid of my old bed frame, ugly as could be with its dated design and mahogany wood. I remember the time you took me into the garage and showed me your old cameras. I was so keen to buy one of my own, a canon, perhaps, but loved looking at yours too. You used to collect so many unique items. Your home fully encompassed who you were. It was filled to the brim with strange and wonderful antiques that brought you so much joy. There are so many things I could say about you and so many words still left unsaid. All I know is that you were dear to me and everybody else who knew you. You always will be.
On the day you passed away, I cried in the hospital hallway. I went from feeling numb to panicky, then I just ached. Nobody I called would pick up the phone. I lay my head in my hands, half curled up in a corner. Most people passed me by but one of the nurses stopped. She asked me if I was crying over a boy, so I told her what had happened with my grandpa passing away. This is so hard for me to write, because it hurt beyond all measure. She told me in these exact words that everybody I love is going to die and leave me. That I can’t depend on anyone because nobody wants to be there for me. That I was silly and stupid for feeling. She asked if I’d come from the intensive care ward and when I said I had, she asked if his body was in the morgue yet. A very unpleasant, deeply painful experience. I’ve yet to report her.. I never did get her name.
That’s the bulk of it really. This Thursday, Halloween day, is the funeral. I don’t know how that happened, but I wish this weren’t real. I will never stop missing you.