Man, woman, birth, death and infinity. Nooo, I’m not a doctor. I’m a student in life’s class as many. Approximately a year ago a very special person in my life went on into the great mystery after 92 years of being my greatest teacher. Like all teachers, some can forget lessons and slip up. Many often err on the side of caution while striving for perfection in their teaching skills in hopes we “get it”.
As many of us go through our earlier years, infancy to adulthood, we observe and learn. Man, woman and birth, many of us understand or try our best to understand the cycle through observance. Then the “BIG” one as they say, death comes along either announced or unannounced. In America, it seems it is a taboo subject to talk about openly. Its one of those quiet topics we may whisper to someone, “did you hear about so and so” at the water bubbler. Or we pick up the newspaper turn to the obits, see someone we know and scan it, then quick turn to the sports or comics. Along with the death comes the cloak of grief. Unfortunately, this cloak can not be discarded or hung up on a hook to be worn at a later date. Its one to be worn through the process.
What I’ve learned through this last year or so after losing this teacher, is what “grief” isn’t. It certainly isn’t about pushing through. It’s not about another side. It’s not something one completes in a semester. It’s not a task, chore or a lesson to finish and get it over with, move on to next chapter, infinity. What it is to this student is absorbing, adjusting and accepting the new normal. In the end, no pun intended, my grief is a croton of myself and a part of me now. An alteration and a new definition of my being.
My teacher, my mother, didn’t teach me about death. She just left me a new pair of glasses.