I can’t pretend to speak for everyone’s definition of grief. But death is something I’ve thought about a lot in my short life.
I do not believe in an afterlife. But I do find comfort in the fact that those who I’ve lost are at peace – in the sense that they are not in pain anymore.
Regardless of a life spent, it always feels like they are taken too soon – that there is so much left unsaid. A life unspoken.
But then I think of all that was said. And the moments I will cherish for the rest of my life. As this Reddit post so eloquently puts it (thank you friend), the wave of grief never really disappears. And it’s better that it doesn’t. I am better for knowing them and loving them and being loved by them.
And for all the memories and moments we shared, it’s a quiet two-hour morning in early July that I remember the most. The stress of a loved one with addiction – however temporary – had just passed. And the stress of Covid – the virus that would eventually take them – has yet to pass.
But here we are, sitting around their small kitchen table, arguing over how to do the paper’s crossword puzzle. And never knowing when my moment with them would be my last (and especially after not visiting with them for a 1.5 year due to the pandemic), I took a picture of that crossword, to memorialize if the need should ever arrive.
Little did I know a few months later it would.
But on that quick Friday morning before I headed to the airport, I captured a moment with them – a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Laughter, jokes, smiles, as if I were a toddler and they were mid-life. Moments of pure joy. Moments of everyday life.
I cannot capture everything two individuals—who were as much guardians as grandparents—were in one post. They were there for me when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. They were there for me when I experienced my first heartbreak. They were there for me when I moved halfway across the country.
And even sick with Covid, they still put me first, urging me not to visit before I headed to the airport one final time and then texting to make sure I got home safe.
Their lives, while well lived, still feel stolen from me. I learned more about this virus in 48 hours than in the 1.5 year I had been studying it from afar. It does not care who you are. And it does not care if you take it seriously or not.
I am slowly coming back to life after the loss of two people who meant the world to me. And simultaneously thankful I did not lose two other loved ones in the hospital that same week (yes, I had four loved ones in the hospital with Covid, all together yet alone. Special shout-out to the health care professionals doing all they can – we owe you so much).
My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones to Covid. The world is not the same without them. It will never be the same.
But I find comfort in the family and friends who helped me process and endure this. I am still processing and enduring it, but I am forever thankful for my community of support.
As my Papaw told me before he lost his life to Covid: It was nice to converse. Hope you are feeling well!
Stay safe. Be well. Look out for each other.