Tuesday, September 6, 2011

i should be good at death by now

it seems as if my whole life people have been dying.

my mom, my godfather, my uncle.

my sister, my friend, my dad.

i started at such a young age (six) that one would think i'd be a pro by now. that death would be old hat to me. that it wouldn't still catch me by surprise. or make me lose my breath. or cause me to break down.

but it does.

all of those things.

just because i started early doesn't mean i've mastered it. or that i like it. or that i know what to say or what to do.

actually, i'm probably worse at it than most. i fumble it. i stumble over my words.

i react with crazy questions like..."are you joking?"

i mean really,  who asks that? as if someone is going to joke about death. but it seems to be my standard response when i hear the news for the first time.

i said that back in november when my husband's cousin died in the operating room. it was supposed to be routine surgery but there were complications and he didn't make it. "you're kidding, right?" i said to his sister, a girl i have known most of her life. a girl i have loved most of her life. " i'm not kidding," she responded, "he's gone."

i had to smack myself.  her brother just died and i asked if she was kidding? who does that?

that would be me. the girl who should be good at death but isn't. the girl who wants so much to say the right thing but doesn't know what to say.

because it doesn't matter how many deaths i've lived through. it doesn't matter how many funerals i've gone to or cemeteries i've visited. i can't change death. i can't fix it. i can't make it better.

and that's hard for me.

because i'm a fixer. i'm the one who wants to make it right. and there's nothing right in death. not on this earth anyway.

not when the emotions are raw. and the pain is real. and the wounds are fresh.

there's nothing right...right then. and sometimes there's nothing right for awhile.

and that's what my heart focuses on. the "awhile" part. i skip ahead in my mind and wonder what i can do to make it all make sense. to make it all obvious to a bigger plan. to make it all not hurt as much as it does at the moment.

but i flounder. and i fumble. and i fail.

and i say crazy things like, "are you kidding?" and "you're joking right?" and i wonder why i even open my mouth at all.

but i do. because a part of me doesn't want to believe. and a part of me wishes i never heard. and a part of me wants to help. and somehow every emotion runs through me so quickly that i say the only thing that seems to make sense at the moment. that it must be a mistake. that it must be wrong. that it must be a joke.

but it never is.

my disbelief doesn't change the news.  my unwillingness to accept doesn't bring them back.

and if you hear me saying something crazy, please know that it comes from a good place. because i should be good at death by now, but i'm not.

and i'm not sure that i ever will be.


  1. wow, you have experienced a lot. and I think ppl understand when we fumble - no one is good at death. ((hugs))

    (and thanks for the visit!)

  2. jo-lynne...thanks for the hugs! i'm a HUGE hugger and i love when other people are too :)

    i love your blog and am glad i found it the other day. thanks for your visit to mine.

    hope you have an AMAZING day!!!

  3. I love this, Colleen....I can relate. I should be good at death by now, too....but then again....I don't know if I want to be. I don't know if God wants us to be. Death is the easy part.....the release. Knowing where our loved ones are.....no more pain.....being with our abba.....
    It is life that He needs us for.....
    and I just want to tell you that you are an inspiration to mine.
    You just keep on speaking from whatever place God wants you to speak from.....and know you are loved.