The Day I Understood Death

By @almas_world

The Day I Understood Death

By @almas_world

The tale of how I understood and finally, embraced death.

Chapter 1

Only Chapter

I remember the day I understood what death meant, what it was and how it felt. It was a Sunday morning and my dad had insisted on bringing my friend back home along with me after a sleepover. This seemed strange to me because I didn’t expect my Dad to want to do this. My seven-year-old self and Dad were walking back home (without my friend of course, she was in the comfort of her own home) when, with a breaking voice, he broke the news of how my grandpa, his father, had died that morning at six am sharp. My father is quite the joker you see, and so I assumed he was joking and laughed nervously as I do when I’m uncomfortable. My Dad insisted and announced it all over again. At this point, I had to believe him but the whole way home (about five minutes but it seemed longer), I pretended not to and held back my tears. When I got home, I ran upstairs and found my older sister crying on the couch and so I went over to her, sat on her laps and into a hug and cried silently, thinking about what a fantastic man he had been. I remembered the last time I had seen him, in his hospital bed on his eighty eighth birthday. I remember holding his hand and not even imagining that he could die, let alone die soon (precisely three days later). I remembered my birthday party at his house, the whole family united when he gave me a present I still have to this day and cherish: a bracelet. I am aware that this does not sound like much but to me, it was the best thing in the world because my grandpa, who had so many grandchildren whom he had had so many memories with (I was the youngest, I was around twelve years younger than all my cousins), had thought about what to give me and has given me something I loved, which showed me that he loved me. I remembered how it felt to kiss him when I arrived at his apartment; his white moustache tickling my hefty chin and making me squeal with laughter. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they experience their “first death” meaning the first time someone close to them passes away and this was it. I had never known death and so I had many questions for my mother who gladly answered them. The only question that was not answered and that remains a mystery is where people go once they die. This was my biggest question and to this day, I have many different theories about it. Another thing I did not know about death and wish I had known, is that the dead can never come back to life. Every morning after that, I would wake up early, open my window, look up at the dark, starry sky and wish that my grandpa would come back. As you know, he never did. For a year after his death, I cried whenever I heard his name or simply the term “death”. After his funeral, I started to be afraid of this occurrence: death. I was afraid because I didn’t want to one day feel empty and I wanted to be sure of where I would go because I didn’t want to simply disappear. Death is still something I am scared of but much less than before because I have learnt to embrace what comes next and if I disappear, then so be it because I know that when I will have children and them their own, I will always have a place in somebody’s heart and know that my body will leave Earth but my influence and soul never will. The death of my grandfather was a terribly heartbreaking moment and yet, it was a valuable moment because it taught me things and made me feel things I had never felt before and I know I will feel this pain again one day when other people I love die but when that happens, I will know how to deal with loss and pain.

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