Death fascinates me.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking how someone can be here one minute, alive and breathing, and cease to exist the next.
It’s a strange thing to give your thoughts over to that kind of morbid fascination. But it’s not unusual.
I am slowly experiencing grief for the first time. And I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel.
My grandmother has been slowly deteriorating in health for the last three years. She’s been in hospital more than she’s been in her own home lately, and I’ve watched her go from a woman who hosted barbeques and loved being around family to a shell of her former self.
From minor hospitalisations lasting a day or two to longer stays, resulting in weeks in a nursing home, year after year she just gets worse.
The inexorable decline of her life isn’t anyone’s fault. We can’t blame an accident, or a person, or even really illness. We just have to accept it, because it’s an unavoidable part of life. You’re born, you live and then you die.
There’s no way to get around the end point, no cure for the inevitable.
But this slow, drawn out process of death is what makes it hard for me, for my family, for her friends. Because as a life comes to its final moments, the world continues to spin. People move on. Friends stop asking if you’re okay. Your tragedy is old news, and your community has pushed past it.
Well, until the next one.
In many ways, my grandmother is already gone. The memories I have of her as a child are far from what our relationship is now. But she is still, and always will be – long after she’s gone – an incredible part of my life.