Beliefnet
Fresh Living

I am overwhelmed with the kind and supportive words of condolence that I’ve gotten as I mourn my grandmother Gaga.  First and foremost, thank you. 

All the talking and emailing about Gaga has reminded me of something that I find curious every time I experience a loss – how do we talk about death?  I mean, what do we call it?

Some people say “She passed on,” or “She passed away.”  Others say “She left us.”  Or “She’s no longer with us.”  Or “We lost her.”  There’s a gentleness to those words that I really like, and a hopeful implication that the spirit of the person is in some better, beautiful place.

But I tend toward the straight-statement:  Gaga died.  True, saying–and hearing–those words hurts, but it hurts in a way that I think is part of the process of wrapping my head around what’s happened.  Someone I love was alive and now she’s not–the human brain just doesn’t compute that concept on some level, whether the person was young or old, sick or healthy.  Saying “she died” is, for me, like a cognitive exercise that slowly gets me used to the idea that her life only continues in my memories, in my heart.

What do you “call” death? 
 

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