Morbid, I know. But considering I’ve been writing a book about the subject and my grandmother (who was like a second mom to me) recently passed, made me realize just how much I have to say about the subject of death.
About two weeks after her funeral and a week after the burial of her ashes I had “the dream” I’d been waiting for. But instead of passing into the white light or having the final conversation, Grandma was shouting something at me and I couldn’t hear her because there was too much going on in the foreground of the dream. Then, around the end of November I had another dream insisting I visit her grave. I think I’ll be going this weekend. That was a strong, “Come visit my final resting place!” if I’ve ever heard one. My grandma always liked our visits.
I don’t really get the sense she’s passed through to the other side yet. She may not. She had unfinished business. She had promised my nephew that she would see him graduate High School. She only had 7 months to go, but alas, her frail aging body just couldn’t hang on. She was ninety-nine years-old after all. She was also very ill and in a lot of pain. It’s amazing just how quickly the elderly can get sick and fall off health-wise. Of course none of us is guaranteed another day (despite age or health), which is why it’s so important to tell those you love how much you love them as often as you can, and make sure you have no regrets. Life is too damn short.
This hit home all too well when, on December 1, my sister’s boyfriend (who is only 32) was hospitalized for pneumonia and next thing we know he’s in ICU on a respirator standing on death’s doorstep. Luckily (after two weeks of being in a coma) he is just now starting to come out of it and they’re hoping to have him off the ventilator and in rehabilitation before the holidays. Thank the gods my niece and nephews didn’t have to lose someone they were starting to get attached to (after they’d just been through the divorce of their parents and the death of their great grandma).
Of course we’re all brought up to believe death is something unnatural and wrong. Again I say, death is the natural conclusion to life. There’s nothing unnatural about it. It’s the great equalizer in this game we call life. We’re all going to experience it, and we’re all going to have someone close to us die at some point (and it’s going to be painful because nothing can really prepare you for the loss of a loved one – not even poor health or advanced age).
Like I said, grandma and I were close. She was like a second mom to me. When my parents were having problems when I was just a baby, my grandmother was the one who took care of me. I remember going to her house to stay the night and going with her to church. For me it was “story time and doughnuts” (I was only six or seven). When I was eleven, she moved in with us and she lived with us until I went off to college at the age of eighteen. Shortly after that she moved into an apartment to be closer to her friends (since my parents live out of the way). Once she moved, I’d go see her one or two Friday nights a month and we’d play cards and have dinner. This went on until I was twenty-eight. Admittedly when I got married I didn’t spend as much time as I could with Grandma until she was in her early 90’s. That’s when her health started going. I started going to see her one Friday night a month again. This switched to every Wednesday night and one or two Saturdays a month so she could get her hair done after she stopped driving. The last three years of her life she was in and out of nursing homes and finally put into assisted living where she spent her final days. I spent those last three years spending at least a few hours a week with her.
I think what I’m most thankful for are the hours we spent talking about her life growing up. My grandma was quite the “wild” independent woman in her day. She didn’t marry and have kids until she was in her thirties (which made you an old maid back then). She was actually pretty cool and she is missed every Wednesday and Saturday. For the first month after she died I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I haven’t had a Wednesday or Saturday for a few years now. ::laugh:: But I’m slowly adjusting, even though there’s still that sense that I’ve forgotten to do something, or something is not quite right. Or I’ll catch myself thinking, “I should get that for grandma.” Or “I have to tell grandma about this!”
What I have are wonderful and happy memories of the time I spent with her (even if she annoyed me at times – I’m sure I annoyed her at times, too) and I will cherish those and share the stories of her life with her great grandchildren. I’ve even been considering writing a memory book and publishing copies for all the grand kids so they’ll always know their great grandma and can share her life with their children as well. It might take me a few years to get the project done, but I do plan on doing it.
People’s bodies may die, but their memory lives on in those who knew and loved them and even if the soul crosses the veil to the other side and combines with all that is, the essence of who they were lives on in the lives they touched. RIP Grandma. I love you.
And what does this mean for Honoring Death? It means I’ve discovered I had a lot more to say, which is why the deadline was shoved up and why the January release date is only tentative. I know a lot of people have been waiting for that book and it is coming. Just know that I haven’t forgotten or abandoned it and I hope the extra time I’m taking to add the new material will enhance the book further and give you something to truly look forward to. Necromancy has been a secret passion of mine. I’ve never really bragged on my experience with necromancy since that’s always been a more private aspect of my life. It was initially necromancy (along with divination and supernatural experiences) that sparked my interest in the occult to begin with. Long before I knew there were other-than-Christian religions there was the matter of me seeing “supernatural spirits” and the spirits of dead animals and birds. Not to mention the family tales of the women of the family (along the matriarchal line) having the ability to see and communicate with the dead.
This is most likely why death doesn’t scare me or upset me as much as it seems to scare and upset others. Natural mediums (i.e. technically necromancers) know the dead are never truly gone forever because we can communicate with them. We know there is life after death. No – we don’t speculate. We know. That doesn’t mean we don’t mourn for our dead. We do. It’s just that we are better equipped to handle that loss. For normal folks, they don’t have that secure knowledge of what really happens after death. It’s a mystery to them and the unknown is a scary thing.
Now I’m just rambling and if you’ve read this far, thank you. Now go enjoy the rest of your day and tell someone you care about how much you love them!