Monday / March 28 / 2011
Everybody wants to see another birthday, but death is mandatory
Death is the one thing we’re certain awaits, no matter our beliefs, upbringing, health habits or how ‘good’ we’ve been. It’s unavoidable. Mandatory, if you will. And yet the level of shock and despondency that accompanies death almost always throws us off our game. It doesn’t matter if someone dies when they’re 3, 27 or 93. Grief is overpowering.
My friend Amy learned that her grandmother passed away at 5:30 this morning. Amy’s husband refers to his wife as a “less concentrated version” of her grandmother. I love that! I know she does, too. I imagine the coming days and weeks will be filled with cherished memories, shared sentiments and a sense of pride as her grandmother lives on through her.
Sharing this heartache with Amy, I am reminded of my own grandmother, who similarly, lives on through me, the “less concentrated” version (just ask my Mom!) Estelle Marie Buczkowski Kokoski was born on the ninth of May in 1904. She lived so vivaciously and without apology, one could say she devoured life. I want to live like that.
My mother and I were by Grandma’s side, holding her hand and singing to her when she took her last breath on the 20th of January in 1998. She was 93. As I shared in my recent post about Tina, when you share someone’s final moments, something births in your soul that connects you to that person in a very intimate way. Forever.
We are souls, linked together in a deeply profound way. But we like the tangible. The touch, the hug, the voice on the other end of the phone. We take the tangible for granted. We shouldn’t but we do. It’s comforting… like a worn, familiar blanket. That’s why we feel so helpless when it’s taken away.
I love how The Finn Brothers say it in their song Edible Flowers: “Everybody wants the same thing. To see another birthday.”
Indeed. My birthday is this Saturday and I for one, hope to lose some water in this less concentrated version.