The Void of Not Knowing How

I've never been one to allow myself not to learn new things. I constantly find myself diving into books about various topics, if nothing but to say I know a little about everything. However there is one thing I do not know anything about and honestly, it has me confused. That subject is death.

My Dad called me today to tell me that my grandmother (my Mom's mom) had suffered a stroke overnight and was in the hospital is critical condition. The news rocked me, as I have never experienced a death to someone truly close to me. In fact, I've only experienced the passing of somone merely twice: my great-grandmother died in her 90s sometime when I was around 5 and the grandfather of a former girlfriend. I attended both funerals but really didn't understand death and how to cope.

I know it's likely that I'll lose my grandmother this week but I don't know how I'll take it given how I reacted today. When my Dad told me the news, I was stunned and sad and felt like crying. But I didn't. I listened to my father on the other end of the phone struggle to relay me the situation and updates and the whole time, I wondered why I wasn't feeling the same way. And I'm a very openly emotional guy.

Not only am I unsure of how I will personally handle the death of someone close to me, but I can't even imagine how I'm going to be able to cope how my parents and sister react. I'm afraid I won't be able to help them through this trying time. Everyone deals with death and the loss of life and love differently, I guess.

It's the void of me not knowing how to deal with it which makes me most uncomfortable, scared and saddened.


Anonymous said...

So very sorry to hear about your Grandmother. I know there is not much anyone can say in this time of uncertainty to make you trust the future. Definetly the loss of someone close make us realize how vunerable we are.
My daughter made me see how much you can worry about losing someone important to you. I guess there is no good answer, just time. Time will bring happiness with the ones we love and we will cherish it even more.

Adam G Partridge said...

I'm also sorry to hear about your grandmother Joe. Even those of us among the ranks of the religious are "uncomfortable, scared, and saddened" in the face of death, despite believing and having faith in a better world after we die. I think it is inherently human. Even "Jesus wept" when his friend Lazarus died, despite having the power to raise him up (which he did shortly after crying). (See John 11). That's a question I've been pondering lately; why would Jesus cry despite having the faith and power to overcome death? Again, I think it's part of our nature (including Christ who also had a human nature from his mother) to be saddened and even devastated in some cases when faced with death. Being separated like that from some one you love (even if you believe the separation will be brief or not), can still cause even the greatest of us to 'weep.'
Sorry if this comment is overly didactic, but these are just some of my swirling thoughts on this important topic.

Adam G Partridge said...

...My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Joe...it is okay to not know how you are supposed to react or what you should do as long as you do what feels right. The most important thing is to grieve no matter how difficult it may seem. It is okay to feel like you may not be there for you mom or sister but you know they may be feeling the same way. Be with your family, take time for yourself and your family. Remember all of the wonderful and fun times you had with your grandmother. It is extremely hard to lose someone you love. My heart and thoughts are with you.

Joe said...

To both anonymous commentors, I don't know who you are but I thank you for your words of support.

Adam, I think you know how truly grateful I am to have you as a friend.

Kory said...

Hey there joe. Sorry I couldn't respond sooner. As a person that lost his Grandmother in August of last year I can say that it hurts. But like all types of hurt, the hurt you feel will fade. It is the memories that you have to hold on too. Look at pictures of her and remind yourself that he body might not be here anymore but your thoughts of her will always be with you. I'm always here for you, Brother.