|BWS Stories - "My World is Empty Without You Babe"...Losing Loved Ones|
"My World is Empty Without You Babe"...Losing Loved Ones - Death Be Not Proud
Brenda M. Weber is a lifelong resident of Manistique, a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her first book, a memoir titled I Promise Not to Tell was published in 2003. Her second book, an historical fiction, John Horn-Legend of a Lumberjack, was published in 2005. Brenda also writes poetry and photographs the black and white photos she uses for her book covers. Her website is www.brendaweber.bravehost.com and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Death Be Not Proud
The itinerary of death, that black angel of darkness that descends on our lives, has no remorse. He swoops in and takes our loved ones while we clutch at the threadbare hem on his cloak. For all the begging and pleading we do, for all the sacrifices we promise to make, he turns with a deaf ear, intent on his mission.
My first experience with death that I remember is when I was nine years old. My mother, who suffered for years with grand maul seizures caused from Epilepsy, went to sleep one night and didn't wake up. Her death certificate stated simply; "her heart stopped." How could a young mother with five children under the age of twelve possible have a heart that just stopped?
I wasn't aware of the statement on her death certificate until I was eighteen and decided to look it up in the records at my local courthouse. I also wasn't aware that she had died just three days after my ninth birthday. You see, I don't recall my mother. The trauma of her death caused me to repress my childhood memories; so in essence, I did not have a mother.
Did the angel of death spare me from further sorrow? Not hardly. Over the years he came for two grandmothers, a grandfather, a nine-month-old nephew, an aunt, a few very dear friends. The casualties of death kept piling up and I wondered if I was the only one experiencing this sorrow. Of course I wasn't, the black-cloaked figure never rests. It's ironic that his only mission in life is death.
People say that bad things always happen in threes, and now I know the significance of that. To lose three people to death in the span of five years doesn't leave much room for the grieving process. You only begin to feel the weight of mourning lift when another anvil slams into your chest, ripping your heart. You keep asking yourself when it will finally be over.
My sister was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in March of 1997 and by October she was gone, still believing that she would beat it. How do you cope with losing a sister when everything tells you that thirty-three is too young to die? People tell you to remember the happy times and you do that and go on.
Just as you begin to feel that she is in a better place and she's not suffering, your mother is whisked away after complications from heart surgery, just two years later. All you see is the back of the black cloak as the angel of death leaves her room in the early morning hours. You don't wonder why, you know she was a smoker and in poor health, but you begin to brace yourself and ask, who is next? That ominous feeling, that cloud that surrounds you, begins to smother you. You bury your mother along side of your sister and you feel a sense of peace knowing they are together, just no longer with you.
You begin to feel the dread of death every day, always cringing when you hear a siren or see an ambulance race by. The phone rings in the middle of the night and you don't want to answer for fear of another message from hell. You pick up the pieces, sort through your mother's belongings, still finding reminders of your sister that she just could not part with. You get back to work; you go on with your life.
Another two years goes by, slipping into the third and you think maybe you're actually safe, that bad things really don't happen in threes. Then, it does.
You see the ambulance race by your workplace, it enters your mind but you toss it aside. The ambulance goes back through with no siren, usually a sign that they're not in any hurry. Someone didn't make it. Then the phone rings and the feelings of dread are telling you it's time. The angel of death is not done with you yet. You know before you answer the phone.
No one can ever be prepared to learn that a twenty-seven year old brother was killed in an accident. A tragic accident involving drinking and high speed, a needless death but one that the angel of death was there to usher in. He never knew what hit him, and you are left with the reality of it hitting you, again. Then you set him free. His spirit of "no fear" is set free in a quiet little cemetery in the country.
Death is the hardest thing for the living to deal with but we all have to face it someday. So how do we cope? How do we go on? We feel the urge to be with the ones who are dead, and at the same time we feel the need to be with the ones who are still living. Life goes on, such as it is.
Life is a gift, a precious commodity we are all entrusted with, and the most important thing that we can do about death, is live. It's hard to live without a precious loved one, snatched away by the grip of death. There is a point of solace though. We can't choose how we die, but we can choose how we live. The greatest gift that we can give to our deceased love ones is to live our lives in such a way that would make them proud to have known us.
Do something in life that defies that black cloaked figure. Stare him in the face and refuse to succumb to the devastation and havoc he reeks of. Stop in your everyday busy lifestyle and look, not just glance, but really look at the people we pass by everyday. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all touch someone in a special way, the tiniest gesture of love and compassion? We are all placed into this world for a reason. Life is a valuable gift that we can all be so grateful for. We only have one chance at it before that dark figure comes knocking on our door.
When we lose a loved one, try to put the love you had for that person into loving another person, just another human being who is someone's mother, sister or brother. If we channel that love into a touch or a hug when someone is hurting, the love we feel for our own will live in someone else. It only takes a simple smile sometimes.
We don't have the power or capability of keeping death in abeyance but we do all have the capability of letting someone know that if they died today, someone loved them.