Life is something that is near and dear to my heart. In the past two weeks, both of my grandmothers have passed away and it has been quite a rollercoaster ride for me.
When someone dies, you think about all the things you should have and would have done if you knew their time was coming to an end. You think about all the things that you want to do and you realize that the things you are so worried about aren’t even things that should be consuming your energy.
Death comes and goes. It hits us hard, and then we all kind of just move along and pick up where we left off. But during the first 24 hours of someone close to you passing, you realize all kind of crazy things that don’t even have to do with that person, and these things hit you so hard. Here are six things that I learned during my time of grieving and what it has taught me.
6. People are going to let you down.
Death truly shows people’s colors, good and bad. All day you receive calls and texts from people who know you, as well as from those who barely know you at all. There are always certain people whom you feel you should be able to depend on, but they just don’t come through. Death is a sticky situation. Like the quote goes, “Relationships are really just about people being there when you need them the most.”
There were those friends and family members who did not reach out to me at all. Including old friends and lovers that even though we haven’t spoke or were mad at eachother, it still hurts to know they could not even say “I’m sorry for your loss.” This truly gives me a reason to let them go but nothing cuts deeper. What makes it right to not reach out to someone that once meant so much to you?
Whether they live in another part of the world or they were just too busy, actions speak louder than words and doing absolutely nothing really shows where you stand, especially when you know when it has been the opposite, you were the first person at their door.
So moral of this point, life is made up of people letting you down, it’s just a matter of knowing when to let these people go so they can never hurt you again. There were people I expected to be there for me who weren’t and there were people I didn’t expect to be there for me who were. This just proves that when something bad happens, you will truly see people’s colors and sometimes colors really f*cking hurt.
5. Gravitate towards the things that matter most to you.
Following up on my previous bullet, get rid of the people and things that are not doing anything positive for you and focus on those that are. Think of the people who lifted you up during times of struggle and think of those who did not. Who do you gravitate towards usually and urge for their attention? Do you focus on that one person that unfollowed you on social media or didn’t even text you to give their condolences? Why do you give so much energy towards people who let you down time and time again? Gravitate towards the things that show you compassion, lift you up and want to see you happy. Those are the things that will make your days filled with joy and worth living.
4. The time is now.
Man, if death doesn’t get your mind going, I don’t know what will. Whatever you want to do, see, or be in this world, the time is NOW. Do not wait another moment to tell those you love that you love them. Do not wait another moment to get your ass into tip-top shape and do not wait another moment to write that book you never finished. Your life is your legacy, make it something that people will talk about 20 years from now and say, “Damn, s/he really lived her life and accomplished all his/her goals.” Be who you want to be and accomplish your goals, today!
3. Material things are just material. They mean nothing when you’re facing death. What matters is who you have around you when your time is coming to an end.
Watching someone vanish in the hospital day after day is something I would not wish upon my greatest enemy, especially a loved one. It is so hard to appreciate people on a daily basis when we are so focused on things like our phones, computers, new brands and the next up and coming gadget. I was a nanny for quite some time and watching the kids get so upset and furious over not having a new phone or one of the girls’ sister wearing her new shirt is so funny and entertaining but what we don’t realize as children and sometimes as adults is that these things don’t actually matter. We need to focus less on the things that can be replaced and more on those around us. How we speak, talk and interact all matter. Don’t let a shiny object replace someone of value to you.
2. Never settle.
Hearing stories about my grandmothers was quite interesting. Old loves from whom they still have letters and pictures saved, old dreams that washed away over time. Even when you make it to 90, looking back on life will make you realize that life still seems pretty damn short. Never settle for mediocre and always keep your life interesting. Whether this is picking up a cooking class or dance class, reading different books, traveling the world, or trying a new restaurant once a week, keep your life moving, never settle and never fall into the trap of allowing yourself to be okay with just okay. Life is too short to not go after what you want in life.
1. Words mean everything.
I always used the term “actions speak louder than words” but at the same time, your words mean more than you think. I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my Grandmom Judy, but I saw my Grandmom Ellen the day before she died. I got to speak to her one last time and I knew to be careful with my words. The last thing I said to her was, “I love you,” and I am so happy for that.
We say mean things to people, especially to those people we love the most. What we don’t realize is anything can happen at any given time to each and every one of us. The person you are fighting with might be all you have left in the end. Don’t let a miscommunication or mistake make you say something you are going to regret, because you never know if you are ever going to be able to take it back or change it.
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