Each year over two billion people in the United States alone die. What does that mean to you? Not much, I mean, you didn’t know those people. But somebody did. They had a family and friends who went through grief and tragedy while the rest of us play graphic video games as in Grand Theft Auto or read murder mysteries we find interesting.
You can’t realize and understand what those families are going through until it happens to you.
I would read all those news stories about people dying and think of how interesting the way they died is. I wasn’t thinking about those families that are crying and arranging the funeral. Now I do.
My grandpa died not to long ago, and although we weren’t that close, it upset me to lose a family member and see the rest of the family so depressed. It was the first death I had to deal with and ended up having nightmares about it. One night I even freaked myself out so much about death I had a panic attack and wound up in the emergancy room at 3 A.M.
My grandma was recently diagnosed in the final stage of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She has only a few weeks left to live and it has been extremely hard on our family. She raised me most of my childhood and we are really close so it’s hitting me hard and is rough to handle. She has not passed yet, but watching her attatched to breathing tubes and not being able to do anything by herself is horrible. Yesterday we even had to deal with a scare where we turned off her machine to put water in it and it wouldn’t turn back on. We had to call the paramedics because my grandma started panicking from not having the machine that was working her lungs and keeping her alive.
Seeing all this and having to go through something this horrible with someone very close to me is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my young life. I know in the end it will make us all stronger, but right now we feel vulnerable and weak. This is what billions of families are feeling each year with every death that occurs.
I now know what kind of experience this is and when I hear about people dying, even if I don’t know them, I’ll give a prayer for them because I know right now I would appreciate the slightest blessing towards my grandma and family.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.