I have known of you during my life but had not met you.
I have known that you took my nan’s parents but not before watching them slip away into Alzheimer’s for years.
I have known of the pain you bring and what you do.
I have witnessed you break my Dad by taking his mother when he was fourteen years old. But not before you watched her, her husband and children suffer through cancer.
I remember you taking my Grampi Jeff, although I was too young and disconnected to feel or understand you.
I have known of you.
Taking loved ones, taking my grandparents, taking life.
I have felt your presence lingering for some time.
For the past few years, I have lived my life with you whispering in my ear and flowing through my thoughts and emotions.
You had been warning me and I knew you were coming.
I knew you were close.
I knew very soon we would meet and I would know you.
I would know for myself what you do and I would feel what you bring and what you take.
In my twenty-eight years of living, I had not known you.
I had never experienced you.
I had never met you.
Until I did.
And now I know you.
I felt you, I knew my Grandad was not going to be living in that vast, dark, emptiness for much longer.
I knew from my great grandparents, Alzheimer’s only goes so far, then comes you.
I had known this but I had not known that when you take you also bring. You bring darkness and the weight of a hundred universes and you drop it on the people that you leave behind.
I had known when I left home the last time that I might not see my little baby girl again.
I had felt you but I didn’t know you would come for her or what I would feel when you did.
My first dog, My first unconditional love.
I didn’t know that I would feel as though you had taken away a part of my heart. I didn’t know that you would leave a hollow hole where a part of my life and love lived.
I had felt a slight fear but I never imagined that you would come and take our puppy.
I didn’t know that you would be here to end the little life that had only just begun living.
Although I had felt what you bring and I am still learning how to be with what you are, I didn’t know that you could come so suddenly, so brutally.
I have asked myself many questions about you and pondered you endlessly, in fear, in doubt, in resentment, in sadness.
I have asked how a person goes on after they experience you in there life.
I have asked for a reason to love if you are how it ends.
I have asked if there is a point in connection if you will destroy it when you see fit.
I have asked how you live with the fear of you coming again.
I have asked for it to happen to me before anyone else I love.
But I have realized, from the past three loves that I have lost, that you, Death, are not really the issue.
You will come, there is no rhyme or reason.
It is as it is.
The circle of life.
Perhaps, you are in fact the blessing.
Perhaps it is not you that brings anything, perhaps you simply take and it’s your friend Grief that brings.
As I reflect on you Death, I am actually thankful for you.
Without you, I would never know and feel the true meaning of love.
It’s ironic to say that after you have taken them I really know my love for them.
In life, I know love but in death I have had the opportunity to really feel what it is, reflect on it and be grateful with my entire being for it.
I know that you take but you don’t take everything.
You don’t take our love.
You don’t take our memories.
You don’t take the life we lived together, the experiences, the lessons.
You don’t take anything really, because it is always alive in me, in love.
In my experience of you, you have helped the ones I love by taking them.
So, thank you Death.
I can’t say it was nice to meet you but I can say that I have and I do not hate you.
Grief, however. Hello.
I am still learning what you are and I am still learning how to be your friend.
I am trying to be with you instead of pushing you away, which I believe is impossible.
I can not hold you back or deny you.
I can not ignore what you bring.
The feelings of hate, resentment, guilt, regret, vulnerability and the darkness.
I feel as though you might never leave me, and maybe you won’t.
I am learning to be okay with that.
I have learned now that Death and yourself come hand in hand.
You are one process and most likely, there can’t be one without the other.
I have been realizing that you are the one that is hardest to come to terms with, even though you were most definitely not invited, I have to accept you into my life and learn how to live with you.
I have to learn how to love knowing that all things die.
I have to learn how to be vulnerable and in that vulnerability I am strong.
I have to learn how to trust in life even though I know it will end.
All of that with you. Because I know loss now. I know Greif now, I know Death now.
I know what you bring and I know what you take and I know what you leave.
I know Life too, and I know Love.
And we know that our purpose is to live, to exist and to experience fully, to do that is to love.
To trust that love is everything, in life and death and all that is in between.