What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When A Family Member Passed Away

This is a serious post, so if you don’t want to read it, I understand.

In my lifetime, I have lost several people close to me.  Both of my grandfathers died within nine months of each other, making my freshman year of high school even more difficult than it was already. 

In general, life was hard, since it seemed my entire family decided to drop like flies all within a few short years. A couple years ago, my best friend had Hodgekins Lymphoma, and luckily, she beat it, making her the only person I know to have survived cancer. 


So when hearing that a family member has cancer, I tend to get overly emotional, probably more than I should.  But as anyone can imagine, it’s a tough subject to tackle.


To me, death is not the end, but merely the beginning of a new chapter of your life.  When a person dies, a small part of you dies with them.  After they die, every memory you have of that person comes flooding to you, suffocating you and causing the tears to flow, your chest to compress, your body to shake, and your voice to scream and not be heard.  You may run outside, screaming at the moon, wishing that you had some sign that they were alright.  You may cry into your pillow until you have no fluids left in your body, hoping to wake up to find that it was all a dream.

The days pass abnormally slowly, looking at anything near you, wishing that the person you miss would stop haunting you with pictures and objects.  You’ll feel empty inside from smelling their shirts, knowing that as soon as you wash them, if you ever wash them, that you’ll never be able to smell their sweet cologne again.  You go into rooms and remember how you laughed and cried with the person you lost, trying to keep the pain in your chest from arising even further.  You’ll be angry at everyone around you for feeling happy, because everything in your life feels so dark and dreary.

You go to sleep each night, hoping from relief from your pain, only to be greeted with either seeing the person you lost or having no dreams at all, feeling taunted and cheated because their memories just won’t leave you alone.


There are days where you’ll feel like you want to join them, because life just doesn’t seem worth living without that person near you.

Then will come the guilt.  You’ll feel guilty about everything.  You’ll wish that you finished that puzzle with him that lazy Sunday afternoon, or you’ll wish that you called more, or that you don’t even remember what that fight was about six years ago.  You’ll begin to resent the person you lost, simply because you miss them so much.  Life will seem meaningless, as you lay in your bed, staring at the ceiling, wishing that they were next to you, telling you that everything will be all right, when in your heart, you know that nothing will ever be the same.

Finally, one day, maybe a couple of weeks later, maybe a couple of years later, you’ll wake up and look outside and think, “Hey, the sun is out.”  Then you’ll wonder what you’ll do that day, causing you to want to leave your bed for the first time in what feels like forever.  You’ll feel the kiss of sunlight on your skin, you’ll take a deep breath and feel the air revive your tired, drained body.  You’ll laugh for the first time in a long time, you’ll cry, but less frequent, and the memories will never fade, but they won’t haunt you like they did. 

You’ll sometimes sit in an old rocking chair, remembering every memory all at once, but this time you won’t cry, you’ll just smile. 

When important days of your life come to pass, such as weddings, births, funerals, you’ll remember the person you lost, and you’ll remember how they would have made you smile and made the day even more complete.

Whether you believe in heaven or not, the person you love will never truly die, as long as you remember them.  You’ll grow older, telling stories of your loved one to the younger generations, passing on stories of how your grandfather once let you burn an entire package of bacon, and still ate it, because he didn’t want to hurt your feelings.  Or how your great grandmother was the only girl in her town who had red hair, and when the Indian chief of the local tribe offered her father two horses for her because of her hair, she was teased relentlessly for the rest of her life.  These stories will live inside you, and while right now it doesn’t feel like things will get better, I can promise you that they will.

Life will move on, whether or not you want it to.  With death comes life, and with life, death is always guaranteed.


Sorry about the serious post, but I wanted to post it somewhere.


Thanks all.

4 thoughts on “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When A Family Member Passed Away

  1. No need for apologies, you expressed this well and I am very sorry for these losses. It is good for these things to be out here for other’s to read– you never know when it will be needed.

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