As I sit here alone while the baby naps and my husband is gone to a funeral I feel at a loss. Not lost without my husband but feeling at a loss for those I myself have lost. The funeral he is attending is for a family friend of his, he grew up with her children, their families all hunted together growing up and still do so till this day. I didn't go because I stayed home with our little boy who's almost 2, which I'm glad I was able to stay here instead of going. I will always go and support my husband regardless of the situation but I hate death and I hate funerals even more so. I'm eastern European, Serbian/Romanian Orthodox to be exact and funerals for us are dark, dreary, sad and depressing, while not saying that standard American funerals are rainbows and butterflies, but no one is engulfed in black clothing and a scarf over their head. Also it's more of a celebration of life rather than a mourning of death. The differences to me are huge, regardless I don't like going to them because I think of all the loss I've had as a child. No child should have to go to dozens of funerals, we should be playing outside and having fun, but instead it seemed like those around me were being taken from me left and right. For a few years span of my childhood, say between ages 9-11, I spent at least once a month attending a funeral. Those we lost we're either close family friends or even acquaintances but even so we still attended the funerals as a family. Then came the darkest days of my life, August 20, 1994 I lost my dear aunt, though I had great parents, I practically lived with her. She was in her mid 50's and her son lived several hours away so we spent a lot of time together. I remember every moment I spent with her even now, 23 years later I have vivid memories of dancing and laughing with her. But then I was 9 years old and it was just 2 days shy of my big 10th birthday. We had plans to have breakfast, hit the pool at her condo and then head out for some shopping and dinner at Denny's! On that day she had a doctor's appointment regarding her asthma and the doctor prescribed a new inhaler that she hated; she begged him not to change it again but he said he thought it would do better. Not saying this was the cause of her death but in the wee hours of the night when she was having an attack, the inhaler wasn't helping. I tried to stay up with her but I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch. She called my mother that night complaining that she was having shortness of breath so my mom headed over, and our home wasn't far so it took about 20 minutes to arrive. When she arrived she found my aunt passed out on the kitchen floor and I was asleep on the open up couch. My mom called 911 and I still was asleep on the couch. The operator instructed her to perform CPR, and still I slept. My mom did everything she could to bring my aunt back to us all while I slept on the couch, 20 feet away just sleeping as my aunt faded away from us. I woke up just as my mom started to gasp and cry, I remember running over and yelling at my mom that she didn't wake me up. I was so sad that not even my aunt woke me up to tell me she wasn't feeling good but I should have known better, she always wanted me to be happy and not worry. But could I have done something? Maybe I could have called my mom before? Or maybe called 911 much earlier? I blamed myself for years, a 9 year old sitting there on the kitchen floor at my aunts side thinking it was all my fault. I slipped away for a while, I was scared to talk to anyone and tell them my feelings so I just cried when I was alone. Finally after some time I felt I was going through the process and I found out my grandma, my Nana was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At first they said she would beat it, after months of chemo and radiation we got word that it metastasized and was now inoperable and she had roughly 6 months to live. She raised me, I remember days as a child being with her and my grandfather in Croatia, working on the farm or playing in the yard. Here I had so many memories with her and it was happening again, she was being taken from me like my aunt was and I was so angry. Weeks went by and my sister and I were leaving her home. As always we jumped up on the hospital bed in the living room, at this point her memory had faded and we had to remind her our names, my mother said to make sure we give her more kisses and give her extra big hugs because she wasn't doing well that day. That night we went home and for the first time since I was a little child I asked my older sister who was about 16 if I could sleep with her in her twin bed. So there we lay, 16 and 11 years old cuddled up on the bottom bunk of a twin bed sleeping when my dad came in. My memory has faded me a little so I don't remember if it was night or early morning but our dad came in. He crouched down at the side of the bed and it's like we instantly awoke, he said nothing but put his head down at my sisters side and just cried. At that point we knew, our Nana was gone. Just shy of 2 years later and here I've lost another huge influence in my life. That's when I decided I was done, I was tired of getting close to people who meant a lot to me. I was tired of loss, I was tired of funerals and I was tired of God taking away these people in my life. For many, many, many years I refused to believe, I refused to have faith in anything but myself and I refused to talk to God. If I talked to anyone it was my angels, my aunt and my grandma. But now, 23 years later I'm grown up, I've matured and I understand grief but more so I understand that they're with me everyday. That I live my life for them and I carry them in my heart daily. That doesn't mean I've forgotten them, I still cry in the shower for them, I still wish I could just pick up the phone and tell my Nana that my first born loves tomatoes just as much as she did, or I wish I could tell my Aunt that General Hospital is still on everyday! But most of all I wish I could hold them, just one last time and tell them how much they meant to me.