The Space Between

I’ve thought twice about sharing this because it’s both very sad and very sacred, but the overwhelmingly positive response to yesterday’s post was a reminder that we’re all sort of stumbling through the dark on life’s big questions…so here it goes.

Last year my grandmother passed away. She was my best friend and so it was a highly emotional experience but what made her death unique was that she saw it coming.

Her body failed, but her mind was clear right up until the end – something we were grateful for even though it meant she had a few days of coherence to process what was happening to her.

When your immediate family is gathered around your hospital bed, the message is pretty obvious. 

But the thing is…she wasn’t ready to go.

In her last 48 hours, she couldn’t speak anymore – but she could cry. I know because I spent many of those hours beside her, wiping away occasional tears, and it broke my heart.

What could she possibly be thinking?

In the final space between when we are here and when we are not, what would any of us be thinking?

I wanted to write this post because I believe the clichés are true.

In other words, it’s not about the dead-end job or even the spectacular one.

It’s not about the meetings you hate, the goals you did or didn’t achieve, or the strangers you follow online.

It’s about how you loved the people around your bed.

At the end of the day, that really is it.

Suddenly everything gets prioritized properly.

And it’s not that you don’t love anyone or anything else – it’s only that you’ll wonder why you took it all so seriously.

You’ll wonder why you let an offhand comment from a coworker ruin your whole day.

A whole day.

Because when you know there’s fewer sunsets in front of you than there are behind you, why squander any of them?

This is the lesson in my grandmother’s death, but what lives in me still is that she embodied everything I’ve just described. She loved deeply, thus, she was deeply loved.

So why the tears?

Knowing her, my guess is that she may have felt like she didn’t do enough or that there were things she could have done better.

I imagine we’ll all feel like that.

But the good news is that we can do something about it.

Starting now.