Saying Goodbye

I never imagined I would be saying goodbye to three grandpas in the course of less than a year. I never imagined that these things would happen so fast. As much as the last 313 days have been beyond difficult, they have also taught me some of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned about death. So, here goes nothing…
1. You don’t have to physically say “goodbye” to say goodbye. There doesn’t have to be an official time that you say goodbye to a loved one. They can feel your love even if they can’t reciprocate it at the end of their life.
2. Trust your instincts. There is no “right” way to go through the dying process with someone. It doesn’t have to be sad or somber. It doesn’t have to be this big event where you say everything you’ve ever wanted to say to your loved one. You can go in and just talk about your day. Some people choose to continue behaving as they always have while others feel they need to pour their heart out to their loved one. Any way you go through this process is right. Follow your instincts and you will be doing the right thing.
3. Stay present. As hard as it may be, try your best to avoid thinking too far ahead. Don’t think about death and “oh this could be the last time I’m going to see this loved one” because you truly never know. Simply be with your loved one in the moment. That’s what they need and want most at this point. The best thing you can do is sit with them and just be together. Try not to think about the end, just focus on being with them right then and there.
4. Talk. Even if you don’t feel like your loved one can hear you or understand what you’re saying. Just talk about anything you feel you need to say. There’s nothing worse than feeling as though you left something unsaid. Say everything you feel you need to while you have the time to say it. You won’t regret it.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute. Ever since my grandpa died last May, I’ve been making a conscious effort to tell people how much they mean to me. Regardless of age or relationship, I tell them that they’re appreciated. I never want to be rushed to say what I feel needs to be said. Everyone deserves to feel loved and appreciated – making sure your loved ones know this throughout your relationship makes it so much easier when it comes to the end. I’m sure there will always be times when I wish I would have ended my relationship with someone differently, but I also know that they know how much they mean to me, even if that wasn’t the last thing I ever said to them. General rule of thumb: when you say goodbye/goodnight/see you later, always say “I love you” because then you’ll never doubt that they know how much you mean to them.
So, goodbye, goodnight, I’ll see you later. I love you, Pawpaw. Be good up there.

Death Is Inevitable

Death is inevitable. It’s something that everyone goes through and is one of the few certainties in life. Now, you’re probably already thinking that you don’t want to read this because death is dark and scary, right? Well, you’re not completely wrong, but hear me out.
The inevitability of death does not make us any more inclined to face it. In fact, we spend a significant amount of time fearing death and worrying about it happening to us and those we are close to. In all honesty, death is both horrifying and mystifying. We often find ourselves terrified of death because we are scared of the unknown. We lose a loved one and want nothing more than to know they are okay. We want to talk to them again and hug them one last time. Because of this, we become horrified of the idea of death. After all, it is the one thing that is guaranteed to separate us from the ones we love. However, we are also mystified by the idea of death. We live in a world where information about almost any topic is readily available just by tapping a few buttons. We go to Google and can get information on just about anything. However, when we look at death, we have no solid answers. There are religious beliefs that give some people comfort in having a solid idea of what death holds for them, but no knows for sure. Naturally, no one can truly explain what really happens. Death is truly puzzling to a majority of people in this world. We often find ourselves scared and puzzled by this unknown ending.
I’ve had a lot of people in my life experiencing this inevitability lately and, while I can’t say I fully understand it, I know more now than I ever thought I would. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that death, in its most simplest terms, is an adventure. For some, it is absolutely terrifying. For others, it is long awaited. Maybe it’s a long journey to the final destination or maybe the adventure flashes before your eyes. The point is, we tend to focus so much on the fear and the unknowns of death that we miss out on the miracle of life.

There’s a 4:20 AM too?!

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m not the most optimistic person in the world. If the world feels like it’s crumbling around me, you will most likely know about it. However, I usually say something like “I’m here” or “I’m surviving” because it’s true. I know there are things in my life that are going well and, if I look hard enough, I could probably find a lot of them. So, here’s my list of little things that made this week more bearable.
* The tulips are blooming
* I went to PetSmart for no reason
* I’m finally writing things again
* The season finale of The Walking Dead is on this Sunday
* I’m starting a new art project
* Today is my dog’s birthday
* I talked to my best friend for the first time in a while
* The storms in Nashville recently have been superb
* My bed is beyond comfortable (I may or may not be typing this on my phone just so I don’t have to get out of bed)
* I got a 100% on an essay
* I have more grandparent figures in my life than anyone else I know
* Spring is moving its way in
* My roommate is really good at knowing when I just need a hug
* I went to a dog part with one of my roommates
* My dad chose to say “let’s talk about this later” instead of yelling at me about something small
* I did my laundry
* The sky late at night looks really cool
* I still have a baby Christmas tree on my desk
* Easter candy is for sale
* I haven’t fallen down any stairs today
* My roommate never fails to say “blaze it” at 4:20 whenever we’re together
* I finally have plans to catch up with a friend
* I’m starting to learn that it doesn’t matter if no one reads these blogs-I’m just writing for myself and if it helps someone else that’s great
* Girl Scout cookies have finally arrived
* I have some pretty great friends that do little things to show me they care

I could probably keep going if I thought about it enough, but I think that’s a pretty good start. Even the simplest things can be positive events in your life so, if you feel like you need that extra nudge of “hey keep going it’s not all terrible,” here it is.

If you’ve read this far, comment “there’s a 4:20am too?!” either in the comments here on WordPress or on whatever social media avenue sent you here 🙂

Update

Well, if you’re reading this, it probably means you are reading almost all of my blog posts since this title is quite literally the least intriguing one possible. This post is nothing like my normal posts (it’s really not a post at all if you ask me), but here goes nothing.
So, as most of you know, I am a second year college student overwhelmed with classes, work, and life in general. Because of all these things, I have decided to change my posting schedule. From now on, I will be posting on Fridays instead of Monday and Thursday. This way my posts will (hopefully) be a bit better and I can have more time to write posts.
Hopefully this will work out, but if I decide to change my mind again, I’ll let you all know (the whole 3 people that actually read these on a regular basis haha)

In the Moment

I think its interesting that, in the moment, we can handle just about anything. We all somehow inherently know how to handle a situation when we are thrown right into it. Its the thinking about it that tends to throw us off. We tend to be afraid of what could happen. We play the “what if” game. If someone fell unconscious in front of you at the store, you would react accordingly whether that be calling 9-1-1 or knowing the appropriate steps to take while directing someone else to call for an ambulance. However, if you walked in to a classroom to take a CPR test, chances are you would have been studying and thinking about what you would do in this situation for a while. You may flail for the right words to use when describing your answer or, you may forget your answer altogether. This isn’t to say that everyone would forget this, but I think we have all had the awkward moment where we know we know the answer, but our brains just can’t tell us what it is after we’ve been thinking about it all day. Why? Because we worry. We think about what could happen if it doesn’t go how we planned it. We wonder if our professors are going to phrase a question differently than the way we imagined it. We try to form plans for every possible scenario rather than just letting the moment happen.
Earlier this week, I knew I would be having an in-depth interview with an employer to decide which position I would be taking this summer. I had an idea of which one I wanted and I had to force myself to do anything but prepare for my interview. Why? Because the last time I prepared answers for interview questions I rehearsed them so many times and thought about it so much that I psyched myself out. My fear of what that interview might have held completely threw me off and I blanked. I had prepared a list of every possible interview question that I could think of and how I would answer them, but when the employer started asking me questions about myself – questions about my own personality- I couldn’t answer them without stuttering. I had prepared so heavily for the “what if” that I forgot everything I knew about myself.
This week, when I had my interview, she asked me about my personality as well as how I would handle certain situations. There weren’t any questions that I felt unprepared to answer and I didn’t blank on anything because I hadn’t prepared anything to blank on. When I prepared to handle the interview in the moment rather than preparing for everything that I thought might happen – and clearly leaving many possibilities out – I did so much better.
I guess my point is that, in the moment, you can handle anything. We can never prepare for every possible scenario and, while I will agree that there are some things we need to prepare for to some extent, there are so many unknowns in life and they’re there for a reason. Maybe, rather than preparing for scenarios, we need to start preparing ourselves to be content in handling things in the moment. So, remember, we can handle anything life throws at us in the moment. It’s the fear of what might happen that really gets us.

Changing Your Past

I’ve had quite a few conversations with different people about the ideas of changing our pasts. In one conversation, we talked about what we would do if someone came up to us and gave us the chance to change things in our pasts. Without giving it much thought, I would say yes. There are plenty of things I have done in the past that I wish I could take back and some things that others have done to me that I wish I could forget about. However, the reality is that the past doesn’t change for anyone. All we can do is make sure that we use the things in our past to help us build our future. The fact that I lied a lot as a kid has helped me to appreciate how hard it can be to be honest and, when someone is honest with me, I truly value it. Some of the things that have happened to me in my past have helped me to understand the importance of compassion, trust, and understanding. So, yes, there are many things I can look at in my past and want to get rid of. I can nitpick at quite a few different parts of my life and say I want to change these things or completely get rid of them. However, the reality is that our pasts make us who we are. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today had I not experienced the things I did during my childhood. The things I experience are why I’m here today so, to change them, would change me. So, sure, there are things I don’t love about my past, but when I look at who I am today, I’m proud of the past I’ve had and the person it has helped to create.

We Don’t Have Very Long

Eventually, all of us are going to die. Okay, that sounds a lot harsher than what I intended, but hear me out. Regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. Everything that once may have divided us on Earth will no longer matter. Death is not picky. It comes for everyone eventually. Everything that we did, said, created, and thought will be forgotten. Not one single person will live forever. There will be a time when everyone that is currently on this Earth is gone. In the grand scheme of things, none of us have very long here.
So, here’s my opinion. If we’re going to be here for such a short amount of time, why do so many of us waste it choosing to be hateful. We choose to argue, discriminate, and hate instead of converse, include, and love. Why is that? Why is it so difficult for us to understand the fact that we really can’t afford to spend so much time hating each other? We all have only a finite number of days to share our smiles, our laughs, our love. We only have a certain amount of time to make a difference in people’s lives. Why would we waste so much of that time being disrespectful to each other? Why would we waste so much of our valuable time and talent and joy on being angry with each other and the world around us?
My wish for the world, for you reading this right now, is that we learn to be kind, caring, and compassionate by default. Instead of automatically looking at the differences between us and those around us, we should look at the similarities. We should see the beauty that comes with being human. We need to appreciate the beauty in the people around us and see that they are precious individuals that deserve nothing but love. We’re only here for a little bit, let’s not waste it on hatred.