My grandmother passed away unexpectedly in her sleep 2 days ago. It was the nurse who visited her everyday who found her in the morning. She looked peaceful and comfortable. There really wasn’t much else we could have hoped for her…other than the opportunity for us to say good bye.

More and more recently, the thought of death terrifies me. I lay awake in the middle of the night wondering what happens after we die. It’s something that every single being have to go through, yet we know absolutely nothing about it. Is there an afterlife? Are we reincarnated into a new life? Does our spirit wander around waiting for our loved ones to join us?

Growing up in a household where my mother’s side were mostly Christians and dad’s side were Buddhists, I naturally didn’t believe in anything having to do with the afterlife. And unless otherwise proven, I can only assume that once we die–other than what other people remember about us–our mind, body, and spirit ceased to exist. 

Sometimes, I wished that I was religious. Then, there would be something for me to look forward to–or at least wish for–when I die. But for now, all I can think about is how lucky I am to have lived my life thus far…to have had the experiences in my life which made me who I am…to have had the honor of being surrounded by people like my grandma, my grandfather, my parents, my sister, my husband, my two girls…each and every one of my loved ones and friends. It makes me think that I was dealt a winning hand and that I’m the luckiest person in the world…and it scares me to death knowing that it will all end some day. And when it does, my loved ones who are still living will remember me, but what about me? Will I remember them? Will I wander the afterlife waiting for them to join me? Will I reincarnate into a new life and have brand new people to call my loved ones and friends?…and will I be as lucky?

My grandmother’s passing reminded me that life takes unexpected turns. It reminded me that even though she has moved on and may not remember me anymore, I will always remember her for as long as I live. And it reminded me to love and appreciate everything and everyone around me as much as I possibly can while I still can, before it’s my turn to move on.