Kubler – Ross on her book on ‘death and dying’ describes the various stages of death – What begins with denial, is followed by anger, bargaining, depression and death. In my opinion, this holds true for all those who are close to that person too. We may go through these stages either prior or after the loss of that person, depending on how much time we have had to process it.
I am no expert but I think we perceive the loss of a person differently during different stages in our life and it is intermingled, may be with what is happening in our life at that point as well. But something that comes across regardless of age is the gap – the glaring gap in your life which that person filled. Funny and sad how we value the person more and understand the importance of that person more when they are no longer around. For me, the loss of my grandparents has been significant – I did spend much of my childhood with them, but now I find myself hanging on to every word, an ordinary incident that is a treasured memory, a sarcastic retort that is popular at every family gathering today, and idiosyncrasies that we associated with that person, are remembered with fondness and love today.
When I am in a deep stage of grief and regret – thinking about the ‘should haves’ – I should have spent more time, talked more, the list is endless I think. Unfortunately, it is too late and somewhere along the line, we realize it. But then – sometimes I forget that a part of them lives on – in our hearts, yes. But also, through their daughters and sons. l smile every time I see a flash of stubbornness in my sister that is so characteristic of my grandmother; an uncle who is the spitting image of my grandfather; the calm and composure of my dad that is so reflective of his father; when I listen to a cousin sing like my grandmother; every time I see Mom exhibit the solution to all problems – a smile and soothing words, just like my grandmother! I hope there is a little bit of all my grandparents in me and that it stays that way. So yes, we do have something to be grateful for! This is my shout out to everyone to open your eyes and really look – Our loved one may not be around today and nothing can change that, but a little bit of them lives on in each one of us, and maybe, just maybe, the day may seem a bit brighter.