“I believe that taking your last breath does not mean you are dead. I believe that you die twice; once when you take your last breath, and again when someone whispers your name for the last time.” – Banksy
When I was 9 years old, my aunt died of cancer. I remember getting the call from my father telling me that she had passed in the night with him by her side. He watched her pass, he watched her take her last breath, and he heard her last words. “She was turning purple, getting pale in the face, she was dying,” My dad said.
My father had lost his sister that day and I had lost an amazing aunt. I remember visiting her like it was yesterday. She loved to talk. She loved her husband, and she loved her kids. But two years after she died, her husband got cancer. My uncle went blind, he got sicker and sicker. He left a granddaughter behind, two daughters, and three sons. But Aunt Tina did not know. She did not know that her husband would soon be gone, too.
Through her chemotherapy there were times when she wished she would die. Her hair was all gone, she lost more than half her original body weight, her cheeks were so sunken in to her face that it looked like she hadn’t eaten for weeks, and she could hardly walk. Recognizing people close to her even became a struggle. Sadly, sometimes I wished she would go, just so she wouldn’t feel the pain anymore. Even though it had been a year since I had seen her last, I knew she couldn’t have looked any better. I knew she was worse, and that the pain was killing her more than the cancer was.
I wanted her better, but I knew she wouldn’t be. After all, it would have been selfish of me to force her through more treatment.
I did not go to her funeral. I did not see her die. I wasn’t allowed to go. My father told me that I wouldn’t have wanted to go, that I wouldn’t have wanted to see a dead person. Instead I cried, like anyone would with such a loss.
I was nine, and even though I was still a child, I understood. I knew where she had gone. She is where we all end up some day. Maybe that place is called heaven, maybe it isn’t. But she is in a better place now, where all the pain is gone. She is where we all end up someday. She is also in my heart. She is where she belongs; everywhere and nowhere at once.
Aunt Tina is not dead. Uncle Tink is not dead. They are both soft whispers in the mouths of many.
Their names have not been said for the last time. They are not dead.
This I believe. This I will always believe.Add to favorites