I wasn’t more than a little fledgling when my grandmother – my father’s mother – died. She’d infected Hepatitis around the time of my birth and died of liver cancer about six or seven years later. Perhaps the cancer originated in the pancreas as she developed diabetes in between. Not important. She was in her early sixties.
It was the first time I was confronted with the concept of death. My parents shielded my brother and me from witnessing the last stages of decay of the human body before life ends. But they took us to the funeral service. I remember I cried because my aunts did and I am always been empathetic. OK, I am also an easy crier.
Yet the point is, I don’t remember crying so much about the loss of my grandmother. Her death seemed normal to me. From my perspective she’d been old. Old people died, just like babies were born.
Today I am thirty five and still feel like I haven’t even finished my initial 360 degree turn to figure out where I am at. My dad is now his mother’s age when she died. Do I think it would be alright if he died? Hell no! I don’t even like to put the words ‘death’ and ‘my mother’ in the same sentence. And my maternal grandparents, who are well in their seventies, can’t go either, because they are not finished yet here.
Finished – with what? An easy answer would be living. But even if we all grew old as Methuselah or die at a young age, we are finished living the moment we die. So, there is to be more to it than just living as hard as this is already.
There is something that gives us a purpose, a cause. It’s not the same for everyone. It’s probably not even just one possible cause, since we can put the pieces we are together to many shapes like a Tangram puzzle. But there is something beneath the apparent chaos, a pattern that we are. Because without such a thing no time given to us is long enough, and all time is a waste.
If I started now to forget who I was, anyway
I would still be better than I am today.
Because I knew.
That life hands you not only limes to make lemonade from them.
No, it yields as well an assembly of odd threads to you
so you get knitting.
It’s to become a unique pattern,
a thrilling, intricate, awesome storyline.
If I want it to be,
because it is my identity.