Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Questioning Mortality: One Man, 16 Lives.

As you can tell by the title this is going to be a bit of a deep post.

Topics such as death, loss and moving forward are really hard to talk about but I want to share how I'm feeling right now. I want to document this moment for what it is.
This is a big part of my life and it wouldn't feel right if I didn't talk about it on here.

I haven't edited this post because I wanted it to be posted in it's raw form so I apologise in advance for any mistakes or random ramblings that don't make much sense.

On the 25th of October we scattered my uncle's ashes.
I didn't know what to expect when the day came and I found myself filled with questions.
Would I feel a sense of closure? How do I prepare myself for this? How will everyone else feel?

I was going into this experience absolutely blind.

I had built up this day in my mind and as the day approached I was absolutely filled with fear and dread. The whole process of loss and moving forward is agonising and it's something I struggle with every day and as of now I cannot imagine a day when I don't struggle.

The day arrived and I was surprisingly calm.
It has felt like this day has hung over all of our heads as it's the very last goodbye any of us will get to say. I was scared of the nothingness that comes next. This is the final hurdle in the process of death and I was left fearfully wondering "what do I do now?".

I felt a strange sense of peace which surprised me. I felt happy that the day had come for him to be set free. This day is the start of his new beginning and the start of a whole new chapter for us.

We gathered round the spot where he was to be scattered and I felt an unusual sense of calm that I had never experienced before.
Then as I looked at the urn I was hit with the awful, earth shattering reality.
That is it. 
That is all that's left of an entire human life.
It's the only physical representation and tie we have of him.
The man who gave me 21 years of memories. My only blood related uncle.
Gone. A whole life reduced to ash.

Except it isn't him. It may be his last physical trace but it isn't him.

They don't hold the sound of his voice or his chuckle. There isn't a pot big enough to hold his intelligence or wit. It cannot physically contain his sense of humour, his style or his attitude.
No one can contain his ideas, thoughts, feelings and philosophies.
They left when he did.

I found myself questioning everything I know about life.
Are we really that disposable?
What is the whole point of this existence if this is the end result?

And then I looked around and saw a sea of grieving faces whose hearts were desperately trying to cling to all their broken pieces. I saw pain and sorrow in the eyes of those I love. I saw memories, regrets, connections.
In that exact moment I saw what life is truly about.

I saw how one man had changed the lives of every single one of the 16 people that laid a flower and a pebble on his ashes.

I saw how he made each of us richer, stronger, more accepting, wiser, kinder, smarter, patient, resilient... I mean, the list is endless. He shaped us all into the people we are now. The people that mourn his loss so deeply.

One man. 16 lives.

And that's just the immediate family. There are extended family members, friends, people he hadn't seen for years all touched and shaped by both his life and his death.
Each person a little broken now that he's gone.

How powerful it is to leave your mark on not just one world but over 16 worlds.

16 world forever changed by your departure. 16 worlds are now spinning on a new axis.
16 worlds have ended. 16 worlds have changed.

One man.

So maybe all we have to give is love. Maybe that is our goal, our purpose, our mark.
Love is the greatest gift and it ties us together. It is a sacred, unbreakable bond that supersedes death. Even when reduced to ashes we are loved.
And with that love we are kept alive. We are living through the stories told and the memories shared.
We are made eternal.

Love is what lights our darkest days and it is love that I am clinging to right now.

To love and be loved is a beautiful thing.

We are not disposable or pointless. We are powerful.

And if enriching and impacting on those who love us is all we live for then that's a life well spent.

After all, what greater gift is there than love?

I don't have a religious belief or set idea as to what happens when we die but I do have a hope that we are granted peace that very few of us get to experience in life. 
As his ashes were scattered I hoped that he knew how loved he was and that he could see all of the lives he touched with his presence.

Grief is very much the price we pay for love and despite the pain I'm feeling now I wouldn't trade a single ounce of that love to ease it.

And I sent that thought off with my uncles ashes and hoped that somewhere someday we'd meet again and the hole he left in my life will once again be filled.



  1. I think this must have been so hard for you to write but it's such a beautiful, heartfelt piece, please don't ever come back to edit it. One man, 16 lives says it all so eloquently. I'm so sorry for your loss but I think, for what it's worth, your uncle is incredibly proud as he watches over you from wherever he may be. Sending you hugs for an absolutely lovely post 💞 xxx

    Lisa |

    1. I can't even begin to tell you how much this comment means to me. Your words are so kind and greatly appreciated.
      This was a tough one to write but I'm definitely glad I posted it.
      Thank you for reading x

  2. I think this must have been so hard for you to write but it's such a beautiful, heartfelt piece, please don't ever come back to edit it. One man, 16 lives says it all so eloquently. I'm so sorry for your loss but I think, for what it's worth, your uncle is incredibly proud as he watches over you from wherever he may be. Sending you hugs for an absolutely lovely post 💞 xxx

    Lisa |

  3. This is beautifully written and I understand where you are coming from with this post. I know it can be hard but it does get better. I lost my nan at the start of this year. She was my best friend and although I was upset I was just thankful for the time we did have. Just remember the great memories! x

    1. Thank you. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that you always cling to those wonderful memories you have. I am so thankful for the time I had with my uncle no matter how brief it may have been. He was and still is my hero x

  4. This is so beautiful and I admire the honesty in this post. It must have taken a lot to write this. I really like that you say you wouldn't trade an ounce of love to ease the grief. Love is massively important and I hope that makes you feel like your uncle is still with you in some way and that he will always be close to you! Sending you and your family my best wishes!

    1. Thank you for your wishes, they mean a lot.
      Though it was hard to write I find it even harder to read. When I was writing it I just poured my heart out and didn't really stop to take in the words. Sometimes his death still doesn't feel real. But I am clinging as tightly as I can to the memories and love x

  5. Thank you for sharing this. Death has always been something that’s hard to understand. No matter who we are in life, we are affected by it in some way. This was a very deep and heartfelt post.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. That means a lot to me.
      Loss isn't something I have experienced up until now and it's incredibly difficult but I hope by talking about it and being honest I can help myself through it x

  6. You phrased all of this so beautifully. It's very powerful, especially considering it's unedited. I'm sorry for your loss, I imagine this was very difficult to sit down and write. Sending my love to you and your family x


    1. Thank you Sophie. It means the world that you took time out to read this post. I really did pour my heart and soul into it. I just felt like I needed to express how I was feeling and my blog has always been a place where I do just that.

      Again, thank you for reading x

  7. I think you're so strong for posting this. Grief is difficult for everyone to deal with, and I hope that writing this post did help you in some way. It's honestly such a beautiful, moving piece and it's clear to see how much this came from your heart and how much your uncle means to you. I'm sending you and your family lots of love x

    1. Thank you for your kind words and love Vicky x

  8. Welldone for writing from the heart & so openly ������

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think it's important to remember that life isn't always purely happy, but without moments of genuine sadness, we'd never reflect properly on how lucky we are to have, and have had people that we care about in our lives. The idea of grief being the price of love is absolutely true.

  10. Thank you so much for reading this Nikita.
    Grief is something nothing or no one can prepare you for but as I said, I'll face it every single day and wouldn't trade an ounce of of love and memories to ease it.

    I really appreciate your comment. Thanks again x