Monday, October 17, 2011

The Last Chapter

Big Fish, where the end is pretty good.
Note: not so well written, but sometimes revisions and rewrites can't capture emotional moments.

Deviating from my usual 'make the people laugh LOL LOL LOL OMG' objectives, something not so wonderful happened - my grandfather passed away a little over 24 hours ago. I missed the initial phone call as I was out embracing my secret weekend Bar Star identity. It didn't matter that I don't have caller id or voice mail, I knew right away what the call was when I saw at 2:30am that I had missed a call. Cue intense dreams for the six-hour sleep that followed.

Death has not really, fortunately, touched my life very much, therefore, when it does, I feel like a confused eight-year old and put on my brave face to cover my racing head. And, I tend to use a lot of commas and start sentences with prepositions (Bad Jennifer!)

Not being well versed in the 'ideal death', I figure this one went as smoothly as it could. Our Thanksgiving weekend trip to Quebec City was cancelled last minute (very literally), Big Brother was flown home as it was realised the text of Grampie's last chapter was starting to flow.

Old age...

The last chapter - the chapter that is written once you know the conclusion is coming - was long enough to come to grips that the end was presenting itself and to mentally prepare for good bye, but it was short enough that Grampie was (hopefully) not stuck feeling like his soul was slowly being taken for days, weeks, or months on end. It is also comforting to know he was ready to go and knew it was coming. He commented to my papa (his son in law) that when he saw his own reflection in the mirror he could see there wasn't a lot of life left behind his eyes. He expressed that he was looking forward to being with my grandmother again soon (who died in 1999). In a moment of discomfort, my mum said to him, "Don't worry, you'll be with Mom soon," and he responded,

"Yes, and I can't wait to see her again."

Upon my mum telling me this, my heart snapped into 846.5 pieces. It makes my eyes leak, but it was comforting. To see death not as an absolute end, but the gateway to another beginning.

Death is the one absolute question in life that you cannot answer. No one knows what it's like. You can see people die and react to it, but you can never get into the mind of that person in those last moments. Even near death experiences are probably not the same. A near-death experience may not have the final acceptance of your own death. And since you never know, you can create your own image of what death might be like.

I believe right before death, there is a very beautiful moment. It could be a flash, it could be a solid minute. Maybe it's in a dream. But a beautiful moment that takes place between the body's struggle to keep moving and it's acknowledgement that the fight is over - not lost, just over. That's when you have your beautiful moment. Knowing pain has vanished, awaiting your afterlife, and feeling free. I think in that moment you see beauty and feel the stress lift from you. I can't explain what the beauty looks like; it might not look like anything, but it's that feeling that washes over you when you're so happy you feel like your soul and heart are smiling. It's almost like arriving to the door of a house knowing what's on the other side is exactly what you want and taking a moment before you open the door to recognize once you walk in, everything will be perfect. It will be exactly how you want it, and everyone you love is waiting for you on the other side. That moment before death is like the moment outside the door. You made it and the success of making it lies on the other side. A celebration or a welcome home. Burdens, sorrows, and weights have been left behind. The faces on the inside will be happy to see you, not be sad with mourning washed over them.

Grampie knew what was inside that house and was looking forward to going there. Sitting at the bottom of the lane, waiting for the fence to open and invite him in. So now his fence has dropped, he has made his way up the lane, and I hope he's in the house and he's at peace and feels smiles, beauty and happiness in his soul.

In rambling, incoherent conclusion, I suggest you watch the most beautiful death scene from a beautiful, wonderful movie: Big Fish. I'm not putting words together very well because sometimes deep feelings don't translate well to bloggie blog text. (And yes, this video is worth ten minutes. It's worth twenty, even. Watch it twice. Oh, then watch the whole movie so the ending makes sense.)

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thanks Jennifer