I believe in life after death. I don’t mean that I believe in an afterlife- that’s a whole other topic that probably couldn’t be discussed in a short essay. What I mean is, I believe that as sad and painful as the death of a family member or friend can be, life will go on.
I believe that after a death, most humans have the ability to adapt. They learn to live without seeing that person on a regular basis. They become closer to the people who help them heal, or are healing with them. And most importantly, after dealing with and working through the pain of loss, they become stronger.
When I was five years old, my father passed away. As a five year old, the finality of death still wasn’t a completely concrete concept for me, although after attending Sunday School classes, I knew that Daddy was going to live with God in Heaven, and that I wouldn’t see him for a very long time. I was incredibly close with my father; we went out to eat a few nights a week so my mother could go to the gym after watching me all day, and he played with me often on the weekends and after work. I guess you could say he was one of my best friends.
I can remember vividly the day he died. My (maternal) grandfather picked me up from school, and brought me back to his house. A little while later he told me that my father was in the hospital. I was old enough to know that this wasn’t a good thing, and that my father must be very sick to be in the hospital. We drove there, my mother came into the waiting room, and my grandfather went in to see my father. I waited with my mother and some other family members, not exactly sure what was going on or how serious it was. A few minutes later, my grandfather came back into the waiting room, and said, “He only has a few minutes left.”
We left the hospital after what seemed like a short amount of time. It didn’t really hit me until we got into the car. My mother said that even though I had been listening to it over and over for weeks now, I could listen to “Manic Monday” by the Bangles as much as I wanted to on the ride home. I tried to sing along, but soon the realization that my daddy, one of my best pals, the warm, loving father that had brought me hot chocolate in a Sippy cup every morning when I woke up, was gone, hit me full force. My mother and I cried the rest of the ride home.
Luckily, this sob story has a fairly happy ending. As you can see, my life has gone on. I certainly haven’t forgotten my father, but I haven’t let his death take a toll on my life, either. I’m a pretty happy person, I’m a good student, I have friends, I have hobbies, I have my ups and downs, but despite the loss of my dad, I’m a normally-functioning human being- no depression or anxiety, no wacky social disorders. For most people, I think this is how the death of a loved one works. People always mention the five stages of grieving- the last being acceptance. I believe that this is true- that after all of the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, people who deal with a death of a loved one reach acceptance, and do exactly what the one they lost would want them to do: go on living.