People Leave

I’m weird about death.  I always have been.  One of my earliest memories is sitting in a funeral home, comforting my mom after the death of her mother.  “But Mama, if Grandma is in Heaven, why are you sad?”  I was two or three…

And basically, that’s how I feel.  Yes, I get sad for a while, but not like everyone else seems to.  (I am much more sad and stressed during the dying process – my other grandma died long and slow, and that was horrible.  The last time I cried for her was the day after the funeral.  The torture was done.)

Growing up in a military town, in Southern California (which is, without the military, a very mobile society) I got used to my friends leaving.  People leave.  It sucks, then you have to start over the next year and make new friends.  But it is what it is.  Sometimes people leave and you hardly have a chance to say goodbye.  You get used to it.  (And back in the day, when they were gone, they were REALLY gone – long distance phone calls were $$$ so it was letters or nothing).

Being rejected hurts worse than folks just leaving.  If they leave, they’re still your friends, they’re just not *here*.  That’s okay.  I can deal with that.

So people come, people go.  It is what it is.    That’s shaped me.

Another thing that’s shaped me is some stuff that came out in my late teens/early 20s.  It seems like nearly every friend I had at that time was going through, or had gone through, stuff suited to write PTSD nightmares.   Hearing the things I heard hurt me enough that I had to go to therapy for a while, to deal with my own emotions.   (If you ever need to talk – go for it.  I’m armored up.  I got this).

It was hard, to learn that the bad things happened not just in books, but to people you loved.   It was harder to find out that people you loved were going through Hell while you were being cherished.

It’s left me with a nasty case of survivor’s guilt.  I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to live up to my privilege.   I’m the one who is supposed to be normal – the girl who had two parents who cuddled on the couch.  The girl who never got raped or molested.  The girl who has never been hit.   The one who never did drugs, who went to college, who married her HS sweetheart.  -waves-  Hi, yeah.  There’s someone out there.  It’s me.

I know not everyone had that life.  I can’t change that.  But I can do my best to make life a little brighter.

A few years ago, I asked God to give me His heart for people.  Asking God for what He wants to give you is a sure-fire recipe for prayers answered.  Having done that appreciably changed/deepened/matured? my love for the people around me.   I was like this a little, but it got deeper.  I can tell the difference.  The compassion doesn’t have an ‘off’ switch now, and there are some things I just don’t have a choice about anymore.

If you put those things together (and I know you’re wondering why they’re in the same post), what you end up with is someone who is *compelled* to do her very best for people, all the time.   I will stay up nights wondering if I said the right thing, if I could have been kinder, if I could have spoken more truth, if I could have done something – anything – to lead the person I was speaking with to Christ, or into a closer relationship with Him.

I don’t assume I have tomorrow.  I don’t assume you’re going to be speaking to me tomorrow.   I have to do my best, I have to do my best all of the time.  There are no second chances.

That’s not a terrible attitude, really – but it’s a lot of pressure to put on myself.   Too much pressure, it’s damaging me.  I have to learn to rest, to trust God to open the opportunities, to speak through me (rather than my having to have the perfect words), to schedule life.  Maybe I really only have one moment with folks, but I have to trust that God will use that moment, will use me – and that my imperfection will be enough for His grand plan.

Just some reflection/revelation.  Maybe it will help you get to know me.

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2 thoughts on “People Leave

  1. elspeth

    I have NEVER watched the dying process. My grandma (who I was not as close to) died, and within 2 months my vibrant grandfather went to be with her. He wasn’t very sick either. My favorite uncle? At 92, he got sick felt a little slow and weak, then died within a month. You know it went with my dad. I still, 11 months later, find myself waking up thinking, “What the heck?” When I think about the losses that hit me the hardest, they were all just…unexpected. Don’t bother to tell me how nuts it is to be shocked and shaken when people in their 80’s and 90’s die. They didn’t live like men in their 80’s and 90’s.

    My husband’s experience is just the opposite as he watched his closest loved one before me suffer before she died. Remember we talked about *imprints*? He hates the idea of catastrophic illness and suffering far more than the idea of death. I hate it too, but I keep thinking, “He got to say all the stuff you say when you know what’s coming. he had no loose ends”.

    All that to say, yep. Our lives make us into who we are, and I actually believe God is merciful to deal with us from there and gives us uncommon grace when we need it. He knows you had a charmed beginning, and he knows I’ve been fighting to figure out what it is to trust since before I was 3 feet tall, an age when no child should have such struggles.

    He’s got this either way.

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    1. hearthie Post author

      Yes, He has.

      MIL died without any warning whatsoever. IMO, it’s better. Yeah, you don’t get to say goodbye. You also don’t have to watch. I watched my grandma starve to death.

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      Reply

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