My nani (maternal grandmother) passed away around this time last week, i.e. Thursday, September 18th afternoon, however we did not take her off life-support until 24 hours after, which only gave the illusion of her still being there. It was a collective decision to wait until other family members arrived so that her last breath and last heartbeat was in the presence of all her kids and adult grand-kids.
I sometimes catastrophize the future, much less now than before, but I still do it. I was catastrophizing it early that day when nani was taken to the hospital. I had to keep bringing my awareness back to my breath because there was nothing else I could do in that point of time when her fate was still uncertain. And later the truth surfaced that I couldn’t do anything even when her fate was delivered to my ears. Her role in this world as my nani, as my mother’s mother, as my grandfather’s spouse had ceased.
I had imagined her passing away many times before, especially since her health issues started becoming more serious. But my reaction to her actual passing away was much different than any of my imaginary reactions. For me, this was another lesson in the importance of being present in the here and now, without rolling in the past or future.
I also was reminded of another truth — the solo journey that we all are on; her own individual journey, plus everyone else’s. We all had a different relationship with her, with different levels of attachment and closeness… which makes grieving that much more individual and personal.
She was one of those people who held a special place in everyone’s hearts, one of those people who no one had anything negative to say about. She had ideals, morals, and ethics that she lived by.
I am at peace at her passing. No regrets. My last memory of her is our dinner together the last time she was awake — three generation of women (my nani, my mother, and myself) eating and laughing together. And I feel grateful for having been near her as she left this world, just like she was near me when I entered this world.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t be here without Vipassana.