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Death is not an ending

21 March 2016, 11:35Cath Jenkin

There’s this line we all have, in our heads, about death. It’s not pleasant to think of, or even comforting to bear, but it’s there.

The World Beyond Life

I spent a lot of time last year living in fear of something, but my friend D, who had faced that fear and come through it, kept me strong. She kept me strong even as she knew her fears were coming true again. I’m not the person to share the story of her life, but I can tell you how she reminded me to shape mine. We have lost D to the world beyond life now, and as the tears swarmed up as I read the message that told me that, I remembered how, even in the face of everything awful, she was determined to smile.

Not an Ending

So often, death is seen as some sort of ending – a final adieu or even, some sort of failing. Except – and ask anyone who has lost someone they love – death has nothing final to it. Yes, that person is gone from this world, but their effect on the world remains. I’ve done a little too much death of people I love, but I also know how that lingering effect can give life to so much more beyond them.

A Legacy

I’ve woken up every morning since our treasured D left us, with her on my mind. Her irrepressible spirit for life, in spite of what it threw at her, has been a reminder to me, to find the good points of sharp days, and cherish the flower that grows out of manure (she would laugh at this analogy, I know). D had the ability to always find the flower, and for that, I am ever-grateful to her.

My parents’ deaths – which were protracted, unfair and shattering affairs, unsettled every aspect of my being – something, I guess, we all go through when we lose our parents. While their deaths occurred five years apart, both of them had an incredible effect on the way I saw things, the way I lived and the way I committed to existing on this planet.

My friend, B’s death, had a similar effect on me. Her death, and I still battle to accept it as such, made me look at my relationship with my daughter, over and over again. She and I used to laugh over our similarities, and I still think of her every time I have one of those essential life conversations with my kid. In fact, B made me more of the type of mom I wanted to be.  

Grief will do strange things to you, over and over again, and in unexpected places. I have cried in the weirdest of moments, longing for the people who have left us. They’ve left me – they’ve left all of us - but that does not mean their effect has.

- Woman24


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