Thinking About Endings and Death

Scenic cemetery and tombstone.Gravestone and Halloween background.Surreal graveyard.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

It has been a while since I have written. It has a lot to do with my community that has gone through a different kind of ending. What do I mean by that? Some restaurants have permanently closed, some are on the brink of closing, and some I do not know what happened. They are just gone.

There are endings of relationships that are the most difficult to handle and the termination of employment for some or loss of health for others.

homeless man lost his job due to coronavirus COVID-19, he stands with cardboard, need shelter and food, isolated in studio

Many goodbyes.

My son held unto his comfort blanky as though it was a part of himself and that he would not survive without it.  My son gave me his comfort blanket. It now lays on his bed; because he is much too old for such things as that. I felt the pain of it all.  I mean, this is the blanket that I would rush 20 minutes to go back to where we were to get that blanket in the wee hours of the morning because he would not sleep without it and because he was heartbroken.

Blanky Christine Reeves

One day I washed his comfort blanket. He asked where his blanky had gone; I remembered I had hung it up to dry on the balcony. We frantically searched EVERYWHERE for his blanky, and it was nowhere.  My son, sorrowful, went into his playroom to weep. And sure enough, after being so sad, I went outside to search and contact the neighbours in case blanky had blown their way.  There, on the ground was his forever friend, his beloved blanky. I found true joy at that moment seeing my son’s whole self light up like a lit-up Christmas tree.  It was pure happiness.

Death is a challenging topic to write if one is not writing a horror story or living in one.

We live in ‘time.’ And time, unfortunately, is passing.

I went to a Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed through the Church in my local area.  I have never gone to a Commemoration like that before.  It was touching. A few of us were there with families at the cemetery.  We had time to stand there, and talk while waiting for the Priest to start the commemoration. It is funny what people talk about standing in a cemetery.  We spoke of marriages, and this one short woman with a very downcast face said, “my husband and I were married for 54 years, and he died two months ago.” We all went silent for a time. Then we discussed marriages. A few couples addressed the length of their marriage, and then there was me, the ‘divorced’ one. I had nothing much to say except I was embracing endings. Which got me thinking of a book I once read, ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

Mitch Albom

My grandmother was quite the woman.  She was stubborn and had to do things her way, even to the point of putting herself out and damaging her own life to prove a point. I am sure Jesus had to run through many fields and forests, even through thick walls, to get to her!  There is irony because when the Priest told us to disperse and find our loved ones instructed us to put out our hands, and he would come and give them a blessing with holy water.  Well, my mother and I walked clean across a long, long, long, long stretch where my grandmother lay buried, which was the very last row. By the time we got there, everyone else had left. My mom and I were jumping up and down, calling the Priest. He looked over to where we were from the top of the hill, and he could not find the stairs.

So what did he do? 

He jumped the wall. I thought he could hurt himself, but he was okay, and then he walked briskly over to us in the muddy grass.  We tried to tell him there were stairs and a path, but he couldn’t hear us we were so far. When he finished the blessing, I chuckled out loud. “What are you laughing at?” my mom asked me. “It just shows you, even in death she took the hard way, that a priest has to jump hurdles to get to her,” I said, giggling.

Speaking about death and how one lived can be funny at the right time. 

My mom and I had our laughs, which was also part of celebrating her extraordinary life. While we were walking towards the parking lot, I thought about what the Priest said: “everyone who dies is sleeping.” I found that comforting and disturbing.

Comforting knowing that if everyone there is just sleeping, I will see all my family and my pets in Heaven that the bodies of those I love will be made new and come out like they just woke up from a long sleep.  Disturbing because I have read too many ghost stories and read too many horror books in my past that taints my images that I need to readjust my head to my heart. Ghosts are actual, and so is Heaven. We will not talk about hell because that is another topic for another day.

You smiled so joyfully
even though death filled
your body.
You shined like the sun,
when you clasped
your hands in prayer.
I didn’t realize how a warm washcloth
could make you feel so much better,
that I looked at love in your face. 
Your face had felt deep pain.
I held your hand while your breath was labored
You told me everything is good.
You came in my room a day after you died
You hugged my hand
You taught me to live life and love deep,
That love is alive and forever.
The hope of all hope is light in great sorrow.
Great endings have always been about
the beginning of tomorrow.
Remembering is to grasp onto the history
of what is authentically you.
I think it is necessary to live love and dance
While we journey through.

Serena Ryder Stompa

Published by Okanagan Valley View - Views on the Go

I am currently a second-year student in Communications, Culture, and Journalism at OUC who hopes to attend UVIC to further my education. I have shifted my educational focus to be a part of the community's communication solution and advocacy work. I am originally from Ontario and love the Fall season there, and I also love the fall season here in BC. I have always loved writing and current events. My five-year plan is to write and advocate in the community by strategically planning and developing ways to minimize the information overload and investigate false ideas of support. I am also a Mother, OFS, daughter, Auntie, sister, and friend. I am a writer and an Independent Contractor.

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