Letting Go of a Loved One

One of the hardest things almost everyone goes through is the death of a loved one. Is even harder when it comes out of the blue, when you don’t get to say goodbye. This has happened to me twice. 

It was tough when I lost my grandpa, and then this year when I lost my grandma. But they were both nearly 100 years old and sick. They were both suffering towards the end, so it was sad when they passed, but the family had been getting ready for the moment. We all said goodbye.

But back when I was in high school, one of the aunts I grew up with, died unexpectedly. She was crossing the street, and a reckless bus driver ran over her. As you can imagine, that was hard and even traumatic. I sank into a terrible depression and it took me a very long time to recover. 

Then, five years ago, two uncles were kidnapped and murdered. Two of the 20,010 murders that took place in Mexico that year (2014).

One of those uncles was my godfather, and even though he was a busy man and we would barely see him every once in a while, I loved and admired him so much. And when something like this happens you realize that life happens in the blink of an eye; we’re here for a split second, and sometimes we don’t appreciate the little moments. The people around us. We don’t see them until is too late. 

I spent months wondering why them? I regretted not calling. Not writing. I questioned everything, even my own faith. 

And then one night, I had a dream.

For some reason I was back in the house where we used to live in Washington. I opened the door and my family came in. My uncle’s wife and kids were there too. I was about to close the door when I noticed someone else was walking behind them. It was my uncle. I was speechless. How could that be possible if he was gone?

No one else seemed to notice him. He walked all the way to the kitchen, smiling. I was crying, uncontrollably. I couldn’t speak, and I wanted to stop crying, to say something, but I couldn’t. My uncle was just standing there, looking at me and smiling. 

“Why are you crying?” he finally said. I still couldn’t manage to say a single word. “Don’t cry. Don’t you see I’m finally happy? There is no more suffering in the place I’m in. I can’t feel sadness, I can’t feel pain. Tell them not to cry for me, I’m happy”. His smile is something I’ll never forget. It portrayed such peace is hard to put into words.

I nodded, and just like that, the light inside him dimmed. It was like someone had turned him off. 

He never said he was in Heaven. All he said was that there was no more suffering where he was, and I could see that in his smile. But you know, the strange thing is that by the time I had that dream, I had already turned on my religion. After my aunt’s death, a year prior to that, I had started to doubt everything. But when my uncle died, I was angry. I stopped praying. I stopped believing in God, Heaven, I started to question every single thing I ever thought I “knew”. I started to think “well, if there is a God, he surely doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t love us like they say he does. Because if he did, there wouldn’t be people suffering all around the world. Good people dying in the hands of bad people.”

My sister, who was still in high school then, had a dream one night that helped her with all the anger she also had inside. In her dream, she was late to class. When she opened the door of the classroom, everyone looked at her. There was something strange in their eyes, like they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. And that’s when my sister noticed that the person in front of the class wasn’t her teacher. It was my uncle. He had that calmed smile on his face, and was wearing his white, doctor coat. You see, my uncle was a pediatrician. So, he was our doctor when we were little. And every time we were sick and would go to him, he would give us a small lollipop, so we wouldn’t be sad or scared. So when my sister saw him in her dream and started crying, my uncle pulled out a small, purple lollipop, her favorite when she was little. He didn’t say a word, he was just smiling. So my sister went to him, took the lollipop and hugged him. Then, my uncle took a book from his desk and told her she needed to read it. My sister saw the cover, but before she could read the title she woke up. So, when she finally told me about her dream, I thought maybe we could look for the cover on the internet. It took us a while, but I found it. The book she had seen in her dream was 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  

My sister decided to buy the book, and when we told my mom about it she couldn’t believe it. She had gifted that same book to my uncle, before I was even born. That book, with that same cover (the cover has changed with time). And, you want to know what the main message the author tried to transmit through his book is?

That your happiness depends on you. The author calls each of us to reflect, to really think about what we want to be; that we must seize the opportunity we have on this earth, because it is unique and unrepeatable. And our future really depends on us, if we want to live happily or in solitude.

And finally, last year, right before his 4th death anniversary, I had one final dream. I was in a big house. The room I was in was really crowded; it looked like a cocktail party, and everyone was dressed in white. But I didn’t know anyone there. I was talking to a man, but I can’t even remember his face. I was distracted, trying to find someone I did know. And then, I noticed a familiar face in the crowd. I froze. It was not possible. My uncle was dead. Maybe, I saw someone that looked like him, because it couldn’t be him. I followed that person with my eyes, and when I finally saw him again, I was sure: it was my uncle. So I went after him. I needed an explanation. How could he be in this place if he was gone? 

When he noticed I was following him, he started to walk faster. I kept walking, bumping into others, but my eyes wouldn’t look any other way. I couldn’t lose my uncle in the crowd. When I was about to reach him, he started walking up the big, beautiful stairs in the house. I tried to follow him, but something wouldn’t let me go up. I tried, but I just couldn’t go up. My uncle stopped in the middle, looked back at me and smiled. Then, he continued on his way to the top of the stairs. I tried to look at what was up there, but all I could see was bright, white fog. It was so bright and blinding, I had to look away.

I woke up that day feeling calmed. No anger. No sadness. Nothing, but calmness. 

I’m working on my faith. Now that the anger is gone, I can see clearer. Whether you want to admit it or not, believing in something gives you peace. Security. Meditation has helped me in more ways than I can even count. I feel grounded, and instead of being angry at life for every single bad thing that has happened, I’m grateful for the things I do have. 
When you’re stuck in such a negative mindset, like the one I was in for years, it takes a long time (and a lot of crying) to change it into something positive, but it is possible. For each material thing you lose, remember the things you still have and should be grateful for. For each person you lose, remember those that are still in your life and enjoy their company. Don’t get stuck wondering why them? Just, be grateful you had the chance to share your time on earth with them. Be grateful you had them. And be grateful for the people you still have.

This has happened to me twice. 

It was tough when I lost my grandpa, and then this year when I lost my grandma. But they were both nearly 100 years old and sick. They were both suffering towards the end, so it was sad when they passed, but the family had been getting ready for the moment. We all said goodbye.

But back when I was in high school, one of the aunts I grew up with, died unexpectedly. She was crossing the street, and a reckless bus driver ran over her. As you can imagine, that was hard and even traumatic. I sank into a terrible depression and it took me a very long time to recover. 

Then, five years ago, two uncles were kidnapped and murdered. Two of the 20,010 murders that took place in Mexico that year (2014).

One of those uncles was my godfather, and even though he was a busy man and we would barely see him every once in a while, I loved and admired him so much. And when something like this happens you realize that life happens in the blink of an eye; we’re here for a split second, and sometimes we don’t appreciate the little moments. The people around us. We don’t see them until is too late. 

I spent months wondering why them? I regretted not calling. Not writing. I questioned everything, even my own faith. 

And then one night, I had a dream.

For some reason I was back in the house where we used to live in Washington. I opened the door and my family came in. My uncle’s wife and kids were there too. I was about to close the door when I noticed someone else was walking behind them. It was my uncle. I was speechless. How could that be possible if he was gone?

No one else seemed to notice him. He walked all the way to the kitchen, smiling. I was crying, uncontrollably. I couldn’t speak, and I wanted to stop crying, to say something, but I couldn’t. My uncle was just standing there, looking at me and smiling. 

“Why are you crying?” he finally said. I still couldn’t manage to say a single word. “Don’t cry. Don’t you see I’m finally happy? There is no more suffering in the place I’m in. I can’t feel sadness, I can’t feel pain. Tell them not to cry for me, I’m happy”. His smile is something I’ll never forget. It portrayed such peace is hard to put into words.

I nodded, and just like that, the light inside him dimmed. It was like someone had turned him off. 

He never said he was in Heaven. All he said was that there was no more suffering where he was, and I could see that in his smile. But you know, the strange thing is that by the time I had that dream, I had already turned on my religion. After my aunt’s death, a year prior to that, I had started to doubt everything. But when my uncle died, I was angry. I stopped praying. I stopped believing in God, Heaven, I started to question every single thing I ever thought I “knew”. I started to think “well, if there is a God, he surely doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t love us like they say he does. Because if he did, there wouldn’t be people suffering all around the world. Good people dying in the hands of bad people.”

My sister, who was still in high school then, had a dream one night that helped her with all the anger she also had inside. In her dream, she was late to class. When she opened the door of the classroom, everyone looked at her. There was something strange in their eyes, like they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. And that’s when my sister noticed that the person in front of the class wasn’t her teacher. It was my uncle. He had that calmed smile on his face, and was wearing his white, doctor coat. You see, my uncle was a pediatrician. So, he was our doctor when we were little. And every time we were sick and would go to him, he would give us a small lollipop, so we wouldn’t be sad or scared. So when my sister saw him in her dream and started crying, my uncle pulled out a small, purple lollipop, her favorite when she was little. He didn’t say a word, he was just smiling. So my sister went to him, took the lollipop and hugged him. Then, my uncle took a book from his desk and told her she needed to read it. My sister saw the cover, but before she could read the title she woke up. So, when she finally told me about her dream, I thought maybe we could look for the cover on the internet. It took us a while, but I found it. The book she had seen in her dream was 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  

This is the cover my sister saw in her dream, the same one my mom bought for my uncle years ago.

My sister decided to buy the book, and when we told my mom about it she couldn’t believe it. She had gifted that same book to my uncle, before my sister was even born. That book, with that same cover (the cover has changed with time). And, you want to know what the main message the author tried to transmit through his book is?

That your happiness depends on you. The author calls each of us to reflect, to really think about what we want to be; that we must seize the opportunity we have on this earth, because it is unique and unrepeatable. And our future really depends on us, if we want to live happily or in solitude.

And finally, last year, right before his 4th death anniversary, I had one final dream. I was in a big house. The room I was in was really crowded; it looked like a cocktail party, and everyone was dressed in white. But I didn’t know anyone there. I was talking to a man, but I can’t even remember his face. I was distracted, trying to find someone I did know. And then, I noticed a familiar face in the crowd. I froze. It was not possible. My uncle was dead. Maybe, I saw someone that looked like him, because it couldn’t be him. I followed that person with my eyes, and when I finally saw him again, I was sure: it was my uncle. So I went after him. I needed an explanation. How could he be in this place if he was gone? 

When he noticed I was following him, he started to walk faster. I kept walking, bumping into others, but my eyes wouldn’t look any other way. I couldn’t lose my uncle in the crowd. When I was about to reach him, he started walking up the big, beautiful stairs in the house. I tried to follow him, but something wouldn’t let me go up. I tried, but I just couldn’t go up. My uncle stopped in the middle, looked back at me and smiled. Then, he continued on his way to the top of the stairs. I tried to look at what was up there, but all I could see was bright, white fog. It was so bright and blinding, I had to look away.

I woke up that day feeling calmed. No anger. No sadness. Nothing, but calmness. 

I’m working on my faith. Now that the anger is gone, I can see clearer. Whether you want to admit it or not, believing in something gives you peace. Security. Meditation has helped me in more ways than I can even count. I feel grounded, and instead of being angry at life for every single bad thing that has happened, I’m grateful for the things I do have. 
When you’re stuck in such a negative mindset, like the one I was in for years, it takes a long time (and a lot of crying) to change it into something positive, but it is possible. For each material thing you lose, remember the things you still have and should be grateful for. For each person you lose, remember those that are still in your life and enjoy their company. Don’t get stuck wondering why them? Just, be grateful you had the chance to share your time on earth with them. Be grateful you had them. And be grateful for the people you still have.

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