Death, I Feel Your Sting

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I don’t know if there was this much death all around me when I was younger. I can’t remember so many people passing away that I actually know. Is it that because I’m getting older, those I know are getting older as well and death has been coming for people in large numbers?  I’ve gone to so many funerals in the past few years that I’ve lost count and I feel like I’m always waiting to hear about the next person gone, but never to be forgotten.

Recently my cousin passed away and he wasn’t too many years older than me. We pretty much grew up together always going to a lot of family functions, road trips and hanging at each other’s houses. He was best friends with my oldest brother who passed away a few years ago. I remember when my brother passed, my cousin mentioned how lonely he had become since my brother was gone. They did a lot together and what they liked to do the most was watch sports together and if they weren’t watching together, they would call each other on the phone and talk about a play they’d just seen in one game or another. They had become so much more than just cousins, they were brothers from different mothers. That’s a very special title that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Years ago I lost another cousin who was the sister to the cousin who recently passed away and I used to call her my sister from another mother because I felt that even though we were not sisters, we were as close as two sisters could be. We shared everything and I remember telling her secrets that I’ve never told another person. We shared our good and our very bad and never judged each other. I remember times we would sit in my apartment back in the 80’s and we’d sit up all night just talking and I mean the sun would literally come up and we would still be talking from the night before. I still have letters from her that she wrote me when she was away at college. My connection to her was strong and when her brother passed away recently the first thing I thought was, “Death I feel your sting.”

By that I mean everyday I feel the hurt and the pain of the loss of a family member or friend, but it really stings when another person around you passes away. I think about my cousin and all the dreams she had that never happened and over the past few days, she’s been on my mind heavily and I feel the hurt as if she just died. My thoughts turned from her to my brother whom I think about every single day and the pain of that never seems to go away. That is a daily sting and on days when it gets extremely overwhelming, I cry through the hurt wishing it would help ease the pain a little. Then there is my nephew who I didn’t talk to everyday, but when I did, I loved hearing him call me Aunt Cheryl. I miss him everyday and I feel that he didn’t get enough time to really get a grasp on how great life could have been for him as an adult. Leaving this life so early, having so much more he should have done is another sting that pierces my heart.

Death I feel your sting when I think of the years I lived with my grandmother and though I always thought we were close, we were really close after that. When my daughter was born, it was she who cut the cord and that was just as special to her as it was to me. I always told her that and it would make her smile. I feel the sting when I realize there is so much about my life that she has missed and I know she’d be proud of me. My thoughts of her take me to remembrances of my grandfather who was my main man. He always made me feel special and there was always a joke in my family about how whenever my grandparents needed to change the locks on their door, I always got my key first before their children. I was the only grandchild who had a key to their house and yes, I felt extra special. I spent a lot of time with them, time that I still remember as if it were yesterday. I remember the sting of losing him and that still lives with me today.

So many have gone on that I remember and lots over the past several years. Does the sting of the loss ever go away? Will I ever truly be able to rejoice knowing they are in a place of peace, with no pain and no worries? People believe or don’t believe in a lot of things and I believe there is a place where our spirits go and when I pass on, I will be reunited in spirit with those who have gone on home. I can’t say that right now it eases the pain of the sting of losing them, but my faith tells me to believe that the love I have for them will keep me connected to them forever, even in eternity.

Death, I feel your sting and it’s all around. The pain gets larger and spreads wider with each loss of a family member or friend. I want you to know I feel it and I’m thankful for it because it’s also a sign that I love and when I do, I love hard because if I didn’t, that sting would probably feel more like a prick.

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