27 Days of Living and Dying

paul-thurby-illustration

My beloved Grandmother made a graceful exit last Saturday, just three weeks after my Grandfather passed away.

For nine days, my mum, brother, two Uncles and I sat by her side every waking moment. And every sleeping moment.

We held her hand. We laughed at the moments of hilarity that were threaded through our sadness. We played her favourite songs while she mouthed the words. We told her all the things that were left to say. She told us that she loved us – that she knew we loved her.

For nine days, reality was suspended as I learnt as much about living as I did about dying

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While the intense crushing finality that I won’t see Brownie again is taking my breath away,  I also feel a clarity that only comes when you have been with someone on the fringes of eternity.

Those days that we were all together in her hospital room were strangely so perfect. Suddenly what’s important – and what isn’t – become so simple. So clear. The rest was just background noise.

The curtain around death (that our society seems to treat as an unspeakable taboo) was pulled back and the fear I’ve had about dying and loss faded. Into that space came an immense feeling of connection. To my mama who was saying goodbye to her mama. To my Uncles who I sat whispering with – not as adult and child, but adults. And to my brother who I have always adored, but who has lived far away for 10 years.

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As life starts to return to its normal rhythm, I’m trying to hold onto this perspective for as long as I can. I want to keep seeing things the way they really are. And this I have learnt, is the beauty of living and dying.

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Brownie, you are my lamplight to the stars.

I carry you in my heart. Always. Forever.

xx

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