It is said, death is a part of life, and can come at any given moment. Although we as human beings try to prepare ourselves for it, the bottom line is no one is ever prepared.
I was in the process of completing the second semester of my junior year of college at Western Michigan University when I received a call from my maternal aunt telling me my Great-Grandfather John N. Armenis passed away at 100 ½ years old. I was living in a college dormitory at the time.
Although days prior to the call, my college friend/roommate did a Tarot card reading for me telling me someone close to me is at death’s door or soon would be I still was prepared to hear about the death of my great-grandfather.. She was very good at sensing these sort of things. I trusted her abilities, because she had been accurate about so many things concerning my life without my ever telling her.
Classes were closing session for Easter break. I had originally intended to stay at the dorms and study, because according to my religion and culture, we celebrated Easter after Passover, which was to take place a week later. However, upon receiving the call from my aunt about my great-grandfather, I went home right away.
The wake was held two days later. Relatives came in from Detroit and Florida on my great-grandfather’s side of the family. He was my mother’s maternal grandfather.
My great-grandfather lived in a nursing home in Detroit, Michigan. My maternal grandmother’s sister and brother-in-law arranged for his body to be transferred up here to Kalamazoo, Michigan where the wake and funeral took place, so he could be buried next to my great-grandmother, my maternal grandmother’s mother.
On the evening of the wake, things were somber. I guess I blocked out my emotions, because I didn’t want to feel any pain. I felt enough of it from my brother John’s death four years prior. It still burned in my soul and in every fiber of my being.
Walking up to my great-grandfather’s casket, I did my cross from right to left, kissed the icon placed in the casket with him, and I kissed my great-grandfather’s forehead. Placing a beautiful blue crystal-like medallion into his suit coat pocket, I patted the pocket a couple of times, gazed upon him with a numb feeling enveloping my body.
I was in deep thought. Am I ever going to wake from this nightmare. It can be real. This can’t be my great-grandfather. Surely, there must be some mistake. He’d always been active in the garden when I was a child, teaching my siblings, me, and our friends the fundamentals about gardening, his passion. Even in his late 90’s, he was spry, always enjoying his walks with friends with they’d chat. Now, here he lies, as still as the night.
I was taken out of my mental trance when my maternal grandmother’s sister, my great-aunt approached me saying, “Honey, I know you miss him. We all do. Back in Detroit, I’ve had some people from our church approach me, telling me how he’s in a better place, and how he had lived a long life. But when it comes down to it, life isn’t as long as it seems. One hundred and a half years old just isn’t enough time for him to have been on this earth. I know that. We just need to remember God has another purpose for him, regardless if we like it or not,” with tears in her eyes as she embraced me, and I embraced her. A few tears welled up in my eyes, raining down my cheeks.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015