What They Don’t Tell You About Death

“He passed peacefully in his sleep,” is what we tell our relatives when we inform them of Grandpa’s passing. It’s not not-true. Grandpa did pass away peacefully. But what was left out was the harrowing process of witnessing his life slowly diminish in front of our eyes. No one really talks about that aspect of death: the laboured breathing, the lips and extremities turning purple, the body cleansing itself of all its bowel contents, the vitals so weak that they cannot be measured by machines and therefore the families having to frequently hold a mirror underneath the nose of our loved one to detect their faint breath—or the lack thereof.

People also don’t talk about the intricate procedures that ensued immediately after the person passes. Who do you call to issue a death certificate? Where does the body go before it gets buried or cremated? What if you want a funeral with open-casket? Where do you find a respectful embalmer? Who will be writing the eulogies? What about religious rituals, if there were any?

How do grief-stricken families navigate all this?

And just when you finally made it through all the ceremonies, grief sets in—prodigiously and mercilessly. You start to notice the stark void that the people whom you loved had left behind.

She understood loss and how it leaves a hole in the soul that can never be filled.

Santa Montefiore

I wrote Grandpa’s eulogy on Saturday. As I recounted all the memories we shared, my brain was stuck in a loop. How can I effectively and succinctly encapsulate such love? How can anyone?

During the process of writing, I also reflected again on my own eulogy; as in, how do I want to be remembered? In teaching, we commonly employ Backward Design when we plan our units. (We take a look at all the curricular goals we want to achieve by the end of the year, and backward engineer our lessons to ensure we cover all necessary grounds.) So perhaps because it is already deeply steeped into my thinking process, I live my life by how I want to be remembered at the end of my life.

I want to be remembered as having love well.

What about you? What governs your behaviour and how you best live your life?

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

– Chuck Palahniuk

Author: Andie Untamed✨

Just a sojourner of this great big world, humbled and awe-inspired by its effulgence

20 thoughts on “What They Don’t Tell You About Death”

  1. May I offer my condolences to you and your family for the loss of a beloved relative. It seems we humans find it difficult to share feelings and thoughts about an inevitable part of life, your post helps fill this void. Thank you. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry for your loss. I hope to leave behind me (and be remembered) for the lessons I try to teach my son. To live an altruistic, compassionate and passionate life. That those lessons will be passed on to his children. My moment in time is a blink, and the memory of who I am will fade, but those lessons are immortality.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My condolences for your loss. I can’t forget the painful when my grandparents left this world. They treated me like a princess, showering their love and affection on me. Very heart touching.


  4. Andie, firstly, please accept my condolences and kind thoughts on losing your Grandpa. It’s so hard watching a close relative or friend slowly slip away like that. I lost my Mum nearly six years ago, and sadly, I couldn’t get there in time to see her before she left us. But the evening before that, I saw her and had a very similar experience. Her sats kept dropping out, and she was on oxygen, making conversation difficult. She was there, mentally, till the last day; she died alone in a hospital bed, and I can’t get over not being there to hold her hand when she slipped away. I’m so glad you have happy memories of your Grandpa – it certainly sounds like you do, which is to be treasured. I agree that making memories every day is important so that your nearest and dearest will remember those happy times with you. I am thinking of you, Andie. Take care Xx 💙


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