You shouldn’t mourn people while they are still alive

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Photo by Jackie Vang

I’ve always had this philosophy that you shouldn’t mourn people while they’re alive. 

It seems like a pretty obvious concept, but the amount of times I’ve seen my friends and members of my family severely distraught baffles me. 

That’s not to say people can’t have emotions – I lack a majority of the key ones most people have, but every time a little kid gets to meet his sports hero, I usually tear up a little bit. 

With that being said, my point is that I find too often people act like people have already passed when in reality they’re still alive, they’re just a shell of their former self. 

Take my family for example; in 2011, my granny moved out of our house into a nursing home as she had dementia and my father was her primary caretaker, but as he had to work in a city 45 minutes away at the time, he felt it was his only option. We would go visit her every day, and at first, we seemed to bawl our eyes out after every visit. 

Once a nurse told us that it didn’t matter if she thought it was Christmas or she thought dead people were still alive, how did that affect our lives? 

We knew the truth and telling her she was wrong only agitated her. 

Once we learned that, it made our visits so much better. We would go see her every single day, despite my dad coaching both of the rep sports I played. 

I would show up in my uniform before a game just to say hi.

 It didn’t matter that she had no concept of the outside world, we just wanted to spend time with her. There was no point in getting upset when she was still here. 

She passed seven years ago, and I would do anything to give her a hug one last time. Now, my mom is going through the same thing with my nana. 

She is also suffering from dementia, as well as the added diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, so my nana is currently in the hospital. I’ve seen her twice now since she’s been admitted, and the first time my sister was in tears. 

My nana didn’t look great, she had an oxygen mask on, and she look distraught. 

It’s not the “same” nana who travelled with us to Punta Cana just four short years ago for my mother’s wedding, the same nana who used to drive two hours from Oshawa just to spend a few days with us to “get away from her husband.” 

Everyone is up in arms about how my nana isn’t how she used to be.

But in my opinion, she’s still alive isn’t she? I don’t see a point in mourning about someone’s past and how they’ve changed when they’re still alive. 

I still get to hold her hand and tell her I love her. Sure, she can’t do 90 per cent of the things she used to, but as long as she’s still on this earth I refuse to shed a tear. 

I won’t let something like dementia make me sad when I still have the physical person in front of me. 

My nana may not remember that her husband visited earlier that day, but she still is witty enough to force my mom and I to crack a smile and that’s all we can ask for. 

There are many people on the planet who lose parents, children and siblings way too young. 

So for me to be upset about someone who is still alive seems so silly. 

As long as I can cherish the time I have with someone while they’re still on this earth, I will have nothing but happiness within me.

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