I’ve been thinking about this since I had this conversation with my co-worker whose father has stage 4 cancer.
My co-worker plans to move to Europe soon. I told her do it. I asked her what her parents thought about it. She hasn’t told them yet because of her dad being sick. This is when I shared my experience with her about what I learned from dealing with losing my parents.
I went through it alone. There wasn’t someone, who I knew that lost there parents in their twenties. But I could be there for my coworker, because I knew what she was going through.
I told her I know death is hard to talk about, but I’m going to tell you what I didn’t know then. When it’s a person’s time to go they will die and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from happening. After your dad is gone, you will still have your life to live so just live it and go to Europe.
She said she knew this, but needed to hear it from some one else. I told her, Guilt is a bitch, but don’t let it stop you from living your life.
Guilt can destroy a person. I think it’s worse than pain, because if a person doesn’t process the guilt it can control your life in a very bad way.
I didn’t make it home before my dad died and I held onto the guilt I felt from that until I watched my mom die. When she died I came to understand death and all the shit that comes with it…guilt, grief, pain, anger…and a person as to just go through the grief cycle, feel, and process it…then you can move on.
My co-worker wasn’t the only one that I hope my wisdom about death helped. When I was an intern at Gilliam Youth Correction Center there was a teenage boy, whose mother died in a car accident while he was at the center. I went to talk to him about his mother and the first thing he said to me was, “If he wasn’t in here, she wouldn’t have died.” I set him straight on the fact that death doesn’t work that way and it wasn’t his fault she died. She died, because it was her time and to not feel guilty about what happen to her.
I may never know if my shared knowledge about death helped my co-worker or that teenager, but I had an ah ha moment when I was talking to my co-worker. I understand now why I experienced losing my parents at a young age. It was to help others, especially youth and young adults, with the loss from death and the grief process that involves pain, guilt, uncertainty, anger, living and death.
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