Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Death - What is it to you?

My mother-in-law died on Monday. She had been in the hospital since February (after a complicated surgery that resulted from a twisted bowel and stomach). For most of her eighty years, she had been healthy. We're grateful for that.

Her death followed almost two months of horrible suffering, so we've all had a chance to witness her strength in sickness and readiness to move on to eternal life.

Since my blog is about writing exercises, today will be no different. Please tell me the first thought that comes to your mind when you think about death. I'm sure there will be comfort, strength, and creativity in your thoughts. That's why I love writing with you so much.



Red said...

Two things hit me simutaniously (sp-sorry I am to tired to look it up). I wonder how the person died (causes) and if they were scared (if they realized it was happening) and then I am also thinking that they are at peace and nothing can hurt them anymore. But if someone I know dies and I hear about it weeks, months later, I tend to get mad. Not that the person died but that no one considered my feelings and that I might want to pay my last respects. Death is a confusing thing.

I am sorry for your loss and my prayers go out to you and your family.

Jan Mader said...

Death does bring out powerful emotions....anger is one of them...especially when you don't know about it until months later!

Thank you so much for your kind words, Jenn....Jan

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

This is a really important but difficult topic. I hate that things die, a favourite pet, my beloved grandparents. Yet death is supposed to be natural - it's part of the process of the cycle of life. And I'm a believer too in an afterlife. I've even had some amazing spiritual experiences surrounding deaths of loved ones, but I still am not comfortable with the process, accepting that it is supposed to happen at some point. I don't know if I ever will be.

It's sad too that so many deaths are slow and painful and everyone is grateful if it happens sooner rather than later (especially the sick person).

I read a comment somewhere that said "Life on earth - no one gets out alive".

Glue Girl said...

Death - Scary, Pain, Loss, Change, Sadness. I hate it in any form. Bugs, pets, loved ones, strangers. We are taught in school that energy does not go away or cease to exist - it just changes form. So I have to wonder what happens to the energy of a life, not in the traditional sense of Christianity or other reigions, but scientifically. Maybe that energy is what fuels or becomes our memories of the person or thing. I don't remember my dad as he was in his coffin, or even before that before they came and took him to the funeral home. Oh, I have vague memories of that, but I have to think about it really hard to get a picture, and they really don't even count as him - just a point in time. The hard part about dying for me is if the person or thing is in pain or knows they are dying and if they are scared. Because I don't want anyone to have that fear as the last thing they feel of life. I don't know Jan, this is too hard.

Jan Mader said...

You know, Christine, as I was thinking about death (since it's been on my mind a lot lately) I realize, that we as Americans don't think about the cycle of life. It seems that it's not natural for a life to end (in our minds).

My husband kept hoping for a miracle for his mom who was 80-years-old. It occurred to me that there's a distinct difference between miracles and blessings. A mircale would have been for her to get up and walk out of the hospital (and go home to resume a somewhat normal life). A blessng was for her suffering to end or be controlled by medication or surgery.

In any case, since I lost my dad when I was nine and my mom when I was twenty, death has alwyas been a part of my's still not easy.

Even writing can be hard when dealing with a topic that is so uncomfortable....

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with what you said about the difference between a miracle and a blessing.

Yes, writing can be hard when dealing with a topic that is so uncomfortable because I can't think of how to put into words how I feel at this moment after having read this post.

I guess you can take solace in knowing that even under these sad circumstances, you were able to make us all think. And the thing that I keep thinking is that I don't know what to say... except that again, I am so sorry for your loss.

Suzanne said...

Jan, I missed this post.

I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Rabin - "Bold Voyager" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabin said...

Hi Jan. I'm only just seeing this post and send my condolences.

As for your question, I don't know that I can honestly say the very first thing that comes to mind, because it's so complex. But in recent times I've thought of death as it relates to both loss and change.

[I actually had written something slightly different, but accidentally deleted while multi-tasking and logging into one of my other blogs. My apologies for that, as I see it has left a "deleted by sender" msg. I wonder if that mistake had anything to do with what others already stated about how difficult a topic it can be, to think about AND to write about.]

Alya said...

Jan, first my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I know the pain that death can cause.

I can only speak of which I know on this subject...

November 8, 2006 was a very cold night- no snow, just cold. I had just left the hospital where a friend had just come out of surgery. Well, this is a shortened version. My great grandmother had been in Hospice care for a couple of months and during the course of the last week of her life, she had become very, very ill. She stopped eating (I knew that she was dying) Well, on arriving at my great grandmother's house, all I could hear was a deep, painful moan that continued for hours. When I went to sit at her side, I remember touching her and her skin was almost damp and tacky feeling. I could actually see the pulse in her neck beating fast. Her eyes were lifeless as I rubbed her hair. I held her hand and stood up to to tell her I loved her and I whispered the promise that she and I had promised each other some time ago. After I whispered that promise in her ear, my great grandmother passed away.

I cannot begin to explain that feeling of anger coupled with relief for her. I was so angry and hurt that she was gone, but I hated that she was alive and suffering. I am still not over seeing her pass away. She was and is my longest memory. I had grown up around her all my life and there is a hole in my heart that will always ache for her.

My mother found a picture of me when I was 5 years old and a picture of my great grandmother when she was about 40 and we look exactly alike. There is not a day that passes that I do not think about her and there are times when I make a face I see her in me so much it’s something I can't quite describe.

A few days after she passed away, I wrote the following poem for her:

Beneath the Cherry Blossom Tree


JustMeAndMyTeddyBear said...

Death is not the end, you live on even after your body has deteriorated and decomposed. Simply, death is the end of your earthly body. It is not the end.

JustMeAndMyTeddyBear said...

Oh, and sorry for your loss. She is much happier now, however. Keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your MIL and my sincere condolences go out to you and your family.

I have many different thoughts about death and dying. My Dad died at age 53 - just when we were actually becoming "friends" in my adult life. There are soooo many things I wish I could discuss with him as I get older and his thoughts and opinions and most especially his advice that he would have shared with me is what I still miss most - and this fall it will be 20 yrs since he died. He had such an unconditional love for me and that will never be able to be replaced. Through him, I have that same love for my children, and I don't believe everyone has this. It was one of the best gifts my Father ever gave me.

Just one of my thoughts of death - while I terribly miss having my Dad around, I also cherish all I had with him.