A friend of mine is going through a difficult time right now. He and his wife are dealing with the probable loss of his father. He’s in a coma and doctors say there’s almost no chance of him recovering, so they have removed him from life support and expect his passing any moment now.
Speaking with them has reminded me (not that it’s ever far from my mind) of two losses I’ve suffered that have impacted me in a major way. The loss of my grandmother, and the loss of my mother. Death is never an easy thing to deal with, but we all are faced with it at some point or another. Sometimes tough choices have to be made, and though our emotions take us on a rollercoaster, we are forced to deal with things in a rational fashion. When I reflect on my situation, I’m reminded of my grandmother; the last moments I had with her. I visited her at her home in Brooklyn…a very familiar place to me during my childhood. We had a chance to sit and talk. I couldn’t tell you what we spoke about, but it was a long conversation. I’ll never forget, that when it was time for me to go, she walked me to the door. A small rather insignificant move to most, but big to me because I didn’t expect it, and it wasn’t something she normally did. To this day, I’m sure that she, or a higher power, knew that it would be our last moment together. We got a chance, in some sense, to say goodbye.
I didn’t have such an opportunity with my mother. Her passing was unexpected, and though she had been sick, no one could’ve predicted that the night before, where she asked me if I wanted to share her mac and cheese, would be the last real conversation we would have. I’m not mad. I understand how death works, and saying goodbye isn’t always in the cards. But I reflected on those last moments tonight, as I listened to my friend talk about his last moments. As we took a drink in celebration of his dads life. My friend was strong, and was able to rationally accept the inevitable.
It’s not easy, but it forces us to remember the good. All of the things that we probably took for granted, become etched in our memory as the foundation of our relationship. The good, the bad, and the hilarious. I still remember how my mother asked if she could have some of my 40. LOL, she wasn’t ghetto on the outside. A successful young woman by all accounts, raising her kids in the suburbs. She had roots in the ghetto. My grandmother who refused to leave the ghetto, even though as a little kid, I’d vowed to get her a house elsewhere. We always want to give those who did so much for us, something better.
The things that make us who we are. Life, in itself, is a big cliche. But you can’t help but fall victim to those cliches. How short it is, how you should cherish every moment, and how the only thing in life that is certain, is death. I can’t say I find comfort in that, but I do find comfort in the fact that they made huge impacts on my life. Made me who I am. Maybe not alone, but in large ways. I can only hope to have that same impact on others. So, as I reflect on their lives, and their deaths, I reflect on mine. My life and my impending death. I’ve got work to do, but I’m confident, that the lessons they taught me, the words they said to me, and the guidance they gave me, will guide me to live my life in their name. Carrying on their will, and sharing their words of wisdom, even if I speak them as myself. I am not who I am because of me, but because of them. I am lucky to still have my father riding with me. His influence is just as great as theirs. And part of the lesson is to not take him for granted, for even though I have loved one’s who have passed, I have loved one’s who are still impacting my life daily. I am grateful….I am blessed.
So I end this with a thought and prayer for my friend and his family. I can’t know what they’re going through because I am not them, but I know that they will be okay. I know that they will reflect, and continue to live the lives that this man tried to lay out for them. Death is not easy. But its lessons are there, and we need to see how the lessons of life are amplified in death. Our loved one’s last loving gesture to us. To remember, reflect, and keep the memory…the dream…and the battle for something better, alive….so their love was not in vain. God bless.