Death and remembering how to live

Taliaschild, my upcoming release from Decadent Publishing and sequel to Taliasman, deals head-on with the question of death. Charisan, the white-ribboned potion that causes instant death, is forbidden by Queen Vina but concocted by Merda who calls herself queen.

Merda tells us, in Taliaschild, “Only by embracing death can we live life to its fullest.”

Some people have praised me for working in hospice. They say it’s brave, takes special people, or that they couldn’t do it.

For me, it’s not about being special or brave. I’d rather focus on things that really matter (people who really matter) and the real, pure essence of what it means to be a human being. I need this for myself, as much as it’s about helping others.

At the same time, today I drove home in tears. I chose this. I voluntarily put myself into the life of someone who will die sooner rather than later. Probably within a few months, if not sooner.

I am surprised at how much she has become part of my life, how much I can’t imagine my life without her…and I wonder whether I am crazy (more than usual).

Grief sucks. Death sucks. Loss sucks.

Why on earth would I deliberately add more of this to my life?

And then I remember stroking her forehead, kissing her cheek, and holding her hand. Telling her I love her and hearing her say she loves me, too.

As we get older, there are few (if any) joys without sadness. Love without loss. Happiness without grief.

Today I held the hand of a dying woman, and I asked myself why I would cause myself more pain.

Why?

Because she reminds me how to live.

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8 thoughts on “Death and remembering how to live

  1. minellesbreath says:

    Truth. Some people can’t cope with the pain of loss, therefore the distance. Sometimes that is easier, however being there to share and cushion someone’s passing gives the caregiver and patient a forever blessing.
    Going through this very recently I can honestly share that no matter how agonizingly painful it was to see my mother die before my eyes… She felt comforted and blest.
    That is why you are called to do what you can to help ease and comfort in the short time they have.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      When my grandmother died, I was thousands of miles away and cut off from everything and everyone. I found that death far harder to cope with than death surrounded by family who also were grieving.

      I am glad you could be with your mother, even though that closeness made losing her all the more painful. As Kate D. mentioned on Facebook (I cross-posted there), pain only occurs after we love. How much sadder not to feel pain because we can’t or won’t feel love!

      Hugs to you.

      Like

  2. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, thank you for this blog post. I am sitting here crying, my granny is still here, I can still talk to her, but she cannot answer anymore. Nevertheless, thank you, because your words make so much sense to me. Well, the last line most of all. Reminding someone to live is among the best things to do. Actually granny has done a lot of that for me in difficult times. And I had hoped so much she could do that for Tilda and baby. Granny has always been so vibrant, and she enjoyed life to the limit. So, even though I don’t want to see her go and feel so torn, your message made me nod and I loved that it was so positive. Thank you.

    hugs

    Nina

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      And speaking of feeling pain because of an ability to love, that would be our sweet Nina. How blessed your granny is to have a granddaughter who loves her so much. How blessed you are to love your granny so much that it hurts to lose her. The hurt seems like more than anyone can bear, doesn’t it? 😦

      Even if your granny can’t talk with her voice, maybe she can “talk” with her facial expression and perhaps a squeeze of her hand? When my friend died last year and I sat at her bedside, the nurses showed me how to hold her hand without hurting her. She couldn’t squeeze back, but her hand was warm and comforting. Maybe you could hold your granny’s hand. Hearing is the last sense to go, so if you talk to her it’s quite likely she can hear you (even if she doesn’t respond).

      Gentle hugs, dear Nina.

      Like

  3. rozharrison says:

    Bless you Ana. It is a very special things to be able to provide comfort and support to both the patients and their families.

    ((Hugs))
    Roz

    Like

  4. racheldevineuk says:

    You are a very caring and loving person, Ana, to give so much of yourself to people you have had no previous connection to. We no longer live in a society where multi generations live together, so that the old are cared for to the end. Now we send them to care homes and hospices and they die quietly and sometimes alone, except for caring people such as you, who become their family, albeit for just a short time.
    I nursed my mother for ten years until she died, and now I live with, and look after, my 91 year old Dad, so I know a little of the emotional trauma you face when you eventually say goodbye to your elderly friends. I hope you are able to continue in your wonderful volunteering, but make sure that there is someone there for you to talk to when you need to share some of the distress you will inevitably feel as you lose these friends, so that the burden of grief does not overwhelm you.
    You are a special person to give so much of yourself, and I hope that you feel justifiably proud of what you are doing.

    Like

  5. Katie says:

    I think that the work that you are doing is wonderful, Ana! 🙂 It takes a special kind of person to pull it off. Good for you for giving of yourself to others in that way. How lives end for those that we love, is important. Support from those that are caring for our loved ones is something that is not only a need for families, but can also end up being be a very special part of the experience, as our loved one passes from one life to another.

    I very much liked your ending. “She reminds me how to live.” YES YES YES! I have recently learned that in the midst of great of loss and sorrow- there are so many fun, special and happy moments to know. Some of those moments can be found at our loved one’s bedside as well. It is nice to know that there are people out there like you, doing great work, and helping others to see those things. We can still live our best life. Another important thing that you do is allow for family members to have much needed peace of mind when they cannot be present all the time. Thanks for helping others through this important last stage of life. Many hugs and <3,

    Katie

    Liked by 1 person

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