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Accepting the Unacceptable

Taki’s Talks

Heaven? Hell? Reincarnation? Nothing? What do you believe happens after death? I’ve never particularly been a religious person. I think there’s something of a higher being in this world, but really, what do I know?

The thought that perhaps there is a place for your soul to ascend to called Heaven or the opportunity to start again with reincarnation comforted me so greatly when my aunt died. I clung to the thought that the word death was simply just a word and she would live on. She passed at the age of 36, with no warning for what was to come. To say it took my world by storm would be an understatement.

I’ve spent the last three years of my life grieving the loss of her presence, the missed opportunities, and the words I never got to say to her before she was ripped from my world. I loathed life and the world in which life inhabits. “I have so much to say but what does it matter since it’ll never be laid upon her ears…” is the thought that for so long weighed upon my mind, until I realized that what I had to say was piling up like a mailbox with no one to receive the mail. My head was the mailbox, and my thoughts, the mail.

I should’ve done more. What exactly? I don’t know but I felt like I had to take responsibility for not noticing all the small warning signs that presented themselves; however, I am no doctor or some specialist in rare diseases, and everyday I’m working on changing that mindset, because how can one person with no fault bear the responsibility of something as big as that? I have so many fears: What if one day I wouldn’t remember her laugh? What am I gonna do without our yearly Christmas baking? My heart cried out, looking for her, praying it wasn’t real. I know it was; the proof lied in the coldness of her always working hands and the transparency of her normally golden skin from laying out in the sun with me. I’ll never forget when my grandma grasped my hand to make me feel my aunt’s hand; she all but screamed for me to feel how cold she had gotten. All I could do was stand in shock, my whole body trembling. I see that moment in my worst nightmares and in my grief-ridden thoughts. That image has been embedded in my head, carving a space for itself; just like how the feeling of her skin, so lifeless and synthetic feeling, has tainted my lips from when I gave her my final kiss goodbye.

I think about what life would be like if she never passed. There was so much I had planned for us, so much I wanted to do with her, all of our little rituals we did that I wanted to continue until we were all wrinkly and old. I hate how she’ll never be here for the important moments in my life I wanted to share with her. I hate how I took going to sit in her chair and getting a haircut for granted. I hate that I wasted so much time without her. She is still such an influential person in my life even though she left only her memory, behind. To this day, I’ll dream that she’s back, whether she somehow was resurrected or it was all some cruel joke. I cry and tell her how much I missed her, never leaving her side, until I finally awaken to the harsh reality: This world isn’t the one I dreamt of, and she is never coming back. I’ve never indulged much in fairy tales, but I’ve made an exception for this one.

Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance: the seven stages of grief. I’ve had what feels like years of this tiring, lonely, alienating process of grief.”It never leaves and it definitely doesn’t get better.” That’s all I thought about in terms of grief. Now, I’m learning how to live with it: how to take it and turn it into beauty. I don’t think I’m at that point in my process yet; the fi rst year of my grief was spent in denial of what happened on July 18, 2020 — and now in 2023, I’m learning what it means to heal healthily. I remember how upset I would get at myself for not mourning her loss 24/7, as though if I wasn’t thinking about her every second of the day I would be forgetting her and that when I was mourning her, I would feel so fake for doing so, but there’s no rules to mourn. The idea that you must act a certain way, mourn a certain event, and do it all in a way that wasn’t too much but not too little; it’s not practical. I can’t count the amount of days I’ve woken up and spent the whole day in bed, weeping to the point my pillow was drenched in my tears, it felt like the tear tracks on my cheeks were burning into my skin from how hot and uncontrollable they were. Then there were other days where I wasn’t thinking about her. As much as it hurts me to say that, it’s true. I know it shouldn’t because like I said, no process is grief is that simple, but I do. I know that deep down that’s not fair to me and not fair to her and that the thought of me continuing to put myself through the mental torment that is my mind would probably upset her more. But, what if I put myself through the wringer so she’ll be forced to come back as a ghost to haunt and curse me out for all this. I can’t lie, I’ve entertained this fantasy, partially out of hilarity but also a little bit out of hope, even though it’s so nonsensical to even consider. Then again, I’d move heaven and hell if it meant I could see her again. Even for a moment.

I mentioned the seven stages of grief, in relation to that I can say I’ve probably gone through all stages about fi ve times each, all but one. Acceptance. In my opinion, the hardest of all the stages. The act of acknowledging what happened and coming to terms with the cards that have been dealt to you. I work towards this goal, it’s scary but I know I can’t live my life without bringing that little bit of peace to my life. I love my aunt, more than the world. I pride myself in being her niece and I’ll do anything to make sure she’s proud of me. I will forever cherish her for who she is and how she changed my life, with all the love and care she put into raising me alongside my other family members. I got to be her bridesmaid, see her start a family and love life for what it was.

Now, I’ll learn from her.

I am blessed to help raise my cousin, spread the love she showed me, and also learn to love life. Even if now it may seem impossible, I’ll do it. Not for her, but because of her. Because she would want me to be my own reason to do things. Because she loved me so greatly that if I didn’t, that would be the biggest disappointment. Life happens, it’s overwhelming, and it’s hard; it doesn’t stop even when you need a minute to catch up. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. I wish I could say there was a solution but I can’t. I can, however, say to take time with yourself. You can either be your biggest supporter or biggest hater. So mourn what you need to mourn, whether it’s the loss of an era, a person, an animal, an injustice, or even your own self. It’ll be hard and it’ll hurt but to repress and doubt will only bring more pain in the end. Feel what you need to feel, because even if it doesn’t feel like it now, it’ll be alright. You can only heal if you want to. Want to find peace with life. Want to heal even the deepest of your wounds. Learn to self-soothe. Heal and accept life not for what it could’ve or should’ve been, but for what it is.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Taki
Isabella Taki, News Editor/Public Relations Manager
My name is Bella and this will be my second year on staff. My partner in crime, Ryland Most, and I plan to make this year on staff one of best, with new and amazing things planned for the paper!