In the past two days, the topic of death has come up too many times for comfort. My mind is no stranger to thinking of death, in fact, it is quite a preoccupation of mine. I don’t mean that in a suicidal, or homicidal way, far from it; I am just overwhelmingly afraid of it. So naturally, it’s all I can think about sometimes.
Today marks 100 days since my Grandfather passed away, and today we went to visit him. My Grandmother placed her handbag on the floor and sat in front of his stone for half an hour, weeping. And slowly, almost quietly, she lay down like I imagine she did fifty years ago, next to him on her side, one arm resting on him. There she stayed for an hour, until it started to rain. Up until today, I never really thought much dealing with death. Sure, I thought about being dead, and I thought about dying. But I never really thought about how people mourn death because, except my Grandpa, no one has really died on me, and I did not know my Grandpa very well.
Today, a blogger on Tumblr named Ashley passed away after a mere two week battle with cancer at the age of 16. I did not know her very well either, except that for the past 7 days I was her Secret Santa. I messaged her each day for a week, and even though that is an incredibly short time, I still felt effected by the news of her passing. Additionally, my favourite blogger Ally revealed that her father was diagnosed with cancer yesterday. And of course, Mandela, a man I had known about my whole life, passed away too.
I’ve always said that the reason I write is to make sense of how I feel about things, and so here I am trying to make sense of why I have felt to empty these past 2 days. The loss of someone we love very dearly would be one of the most difficult things in the world, but I think what I am experiencing this weekend is a collection of second-hand mourning. Mourning for my Grandmother, for Ashley, for Ally, for South Africa. I feel so emotional, I think, because I can’t imagine what they are going through, and I fear it with all my heart. I am so incredibly scared for all of them, I can’t think straight. I’m scared because I know one day I will have to feel the way they feel, I will lose someone that I love so much, and I am going to feel so uncontrollably broken. And this very realisation has hit me so hard. Today I realised I am less afraid of dying and more afraid of others dying on me. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to cope with that.