What to do when death calls and no one is at home but family?

JoAnn Rolle, Ph.d.,
2 min readMar 26, 2020

It’s that season in my life when death surrounds me; literally family and friends are all transitioning within weeks and sometimes days of each other. It’s painful because I find myself often reflecting on how I spent the time. Was I available enough? Was I accessible enough? Did I care enough about the fragility of the moments gone by?

In the absence of the spirits that have departed, I learned how to value living more. My Uncle transitioned two years ago and my Aunt last year; it was time to bring closure and no one in my family had been cremated until now.

Both my Aunt and Uncle ashes sat waiting and wanting closure that no one quite knew how to do. Alas, we leaned on each other for courage. My best friend helped spread the ashes of my Uncle in the lake behind their lifelong home which was his wish. My sister helped find a resting place for my Aunt’s urn near our hometown.

Weeks after the closure of my family, my best friend lost a dear friend. It was my turn to support, encourage and empathize with the loss. What this season has taught me is that dying teaches us to live harder, to give more to the present, to value each moment with each soul and while we may make many friends, we cannot re-create a family member that has gone the full cycle. of life I will never have another mother, father, aunt or uncle again — they cannot be replaced. But what I can have is deeper more meaningful friendships with those who understand and appreciate living life being the best that we can be.

Originally published at https://thriveglobal.com.

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JoAnn Rolle, Ph.d.,

JoAnn Rolle, Ph.D., Dean of Business at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York (CUNY) is an economist and international keynote speaker.