Knowing You're Losing Someone
My Personal Experience Knowing I'm Losing Someone...
I burst into tears every time I hear the song "Supermarket Flowers" by Ed Sheeran. It hits me deep. I lost my mom to cancer, but I don't think that's why it hits me so hard. I was only three when she passed away; I didn't understand what was going on. Don't get me wrong, I miss my mom, but I don't really remember her being sick. But, since then, I've lost a lot of people very close to me. We've all had to experience losing someone, and if you haven't, I consider you very lucky. My friends and family told me during a particularly rough few months after a close family friend was diagnosed with cancer that I should be grateful that I knew what was coming and that I had time to mentally prepare myself for it. However, I honestly don't think there is any way to prepare yourself to lose someone that's close to you. In my personal experience, the knowing almost made it worse.
They say there are five steps to grief, but if you know what's coming, you go through those steps a countless number of times. I think the worst for me was bargaining—praying to God and telling him I would turn my life around if he let her live, saying I would stop drinking if she would just get better, if I could just have a few more months with her... The number of things I offered was countless. I could make lists upon lists of the things I offered to do if she got better. I wasn't the only one, either. She had two actual daughters, and I know they were pretty much doing the same thing: wishing for a few more moments. Knowing made it that much harder. We all knew what was coming, but knowing something and accepting something are two totally different things. As time went on my visits started to dwindle and I tried to pretend like I didn't notice how much worse her health was. If I didn't see her as much, I didn't have to accept how much worse she had gotten. But that wasn't true. It was just another lie I was telling myself to try to keep from hurting. That's probably my biggest regret. It's not like I stopped visiting her, but I should've been around a lot more than I was towards the end.
I'll never forget the day she passed away. My phone started to ring, and, when I looked down and saw her daughter's name across my screen, I knew. I answered the phone already in tears. It wasn't a long conversation, and I don't know how she managed to keep herself together that day or even if she actually did. The next thing I did was call my sister and let her know. Then I got in my car, and I started to drive. I screamed and I cried and I laughed, remembering every detail of every moment I had shared with her. Here it was in front of me: The monster that had been hanging over my head, she was gone. With all of the time that I had to prepare for it, all I had done was beg for it not to happen. There was no preparing. I didn't imagine that this is what I would do the day she passed away. I hadn't thought about how I would feel once she was actually gone. No preparations for the emotional roller coaster that is losing someone were made. That's not how it works. You can tell yourself a thousand times over that they are in a better place and they aren't feeling any more pain but, goddamn, you wish with everything you had that they were still sitting next to you. It's selfish and stupid and so hard to think about, especially when you know they're better now. You saw them suffering and you should be happy that they aren't anymore. The months of knowing or weeks of knowing or however long it was should've given you time to prepare for this.
But there is no preparing. There is no preparing for the giant hole that seems to be eating through the pit of your stomach. There's no preparing for the huge mass that feels like it's choking you. There's no preparing for the next few weeks of randomly bursting into tears. Or the hugs that seem to last hours when you see someone who loved them the way you did.
Losing someone is never easy. No matter how much time you're given to prepare. The words that you say to someone who has just lost someone close to them can't be measured. The final words you say to someone can't be calculated. They can be thought out and carefully constructed, but there is no exact way to say goodbye for the last time. Even if you have months to prepare your last words to them, you'll still wonder if they were just right after the fact. Some people drink the pain away, or bottle it up, or get angry, or even pretend that nothing is wrong. There's no precise way to mourn someone. You just do, sometimes without even realizing it. The only thing knowing gives you is more time to mourn, more time to think about your last words... I wish I would've used that time to just sit with her more. I wish I had shut my brain off and just went to spend time with her without wondering if it was my last moment with her. I wish I had had the power to tell myself to just enjoy her. Everyone says it: "You have time to prepare," when what they should be saying is "You have time to spend with them."
The song "Five More Minutes" by Scotty McCreery makes me burst into tears, too. If I had five more minutes just to talk to her, all I would do is reminisce. I would hope that the people we call family would be in the room with us, and we would all be laughing. For those five minutes, I would make sure we were smiling and laughing and just enjoying being there. No one would be thinking about what would happen after those five minutes. We would all just be with her and with each other and happy. That's all it would be, and I would engrave her smile in my mind like that forever.