Here One Day, Gone The Next


Photo by Caroline Schlieker

With the Queen’s recent passing, Hinerman writes about the difficulty of death, yet the comfort of remembering those lost.

Blake Hinerman, Assistant Editor

The Queen of England is dead. Her passing quickly made global news, flooding social media and news outlets with announcements and tributes to the late monarch. For some reason, every post I saw about the Queen was really sad to me, but I couldn’t figure out why. She wasn’t a close friend, relative or even the leader of my own country. She meant nothing to me, yet her death seemingly meant everything.

Death has always been a crazy concept to me. It never made sense that someone could be in my life one day, then gone the next. It doesn’t even seem real.

I realized that the Queen’s death affected me simply because I knew what it caused. I knew the ripple effect it brought: the hurt, the sadness, the pain. The empty seat at the dinner table. The hole it leaves in every aspect of life. I felt it all when my grandfather died two years ago, and I’d never wish it on anyone. I feel like when he died, I didn’t know how to respond. Part of me didn’t want to respond. I didn’t want to be sad. I wanted life to go on because I knew when I slowed down, all I would think about was how much I missed him. So, life went on. For months, I built a wall, holding back the emotions I had, and for months, it worked. Life was semi-normal for several months after his death, until one day, the wall I had built began to crack. Through these cracks, all the emotions I had held back for months seeped through. It wasn’t all at once, but I would be replacing the air filter for my grandmother, and I remember how he used to do that. Or building something with my dad, knowing he would’ve been right next to us. Slowly, the memories of him filled my life, reminding me of all the time we missed.

Ultimately, everything I did to hold back my emotions after his death worked, but if it happened again, I know it’s not how I should’ve responded. I spared the days and weeks of intense sadness, and now years after he passed, I remember him with positive memories, instead of sadness because he’s gone. The pain of losing him turned into a feeling of sorrow, but also a feeling of peace. Sorrow, because I wish he was still with me, seeing me go through life. Peace, because I know he’s watching over me as I go through life. If I could choose my life, I’d make sure he was in it forever, but since I can’t, I’ll make sure I never forget him. He’s the man who taught me so much of what I know today, and I can’t imagine my life without the 13 years I got to spend with him. I know it wouldn’t look the same. I know my passion for building things and my eye for detail wouldn’t exist, and I hope it stays with me forever. So many times before, people always said not to take life for granted, and I really never listened. Turns out, it couldn’t have been more true.

As I watched Her Majesty’s casket be lowered into the royal vault, nearly 5000 miles away, I was reminded of how difficult death is, and how unique life is. It really is here one day, gone the next.