[I have never posted in GD before, forgive me if I’ve selected the wrong forum.]
It seems to me that no matter who you are or what your circumstances in life the lesson of mortality sooner or later plays out before you.
We all see our elders grow infirm, decline and perish. It disturbs us and we may choose not to look too long or hard. But we know it all ends the same and then there’s no escaping it.
Yet time passes, life goes on, and we move away from the lesson. Because we don’t want to see perhaps. Can’t process it, what ever.
All of our lives, must be filled with all the same lessons. Tragedy comes into every life. Grandparents die of old age, children are struck with withering illnesses. Suddenly and awfully someone holding up the sky in your world is just gone. A sibling, a best friend.
And it stops us, and holds us in it’s grasp for a time. All the things around us are just as they were yesterday and yet everything has so clearly changed.
But you cannot really live in that lesson, and so with time you move away from it and closer to, I don’t really know what, back to denial I suppose.
Please don’t think I am all goth and death obsessed, far far from it. I had a difficult object lesson in mortality as a teenager that definitely shaped how I lived the rest of my life, it left a mark on me. I thought I’d taken from that experience the ‘lesson’. I cherished the ones I loved more, and I gave forgiveness more freely and I lived in the ‘now’, I knew life wasn’t about money or status, I knew some pretty important things . It surely left it’s mark on me, and in a very positive way, I can say now with the hindsight of many years.
You see, I sort of thought, I guess, that I had learned the lesson, fully. But in those intervening years, whenever death touched me or mine, I was still caught terribly off guard it seemed, none the wiser. It was unnerving still, uneasy and hard to look at with clear vision.
Not everyone’s life is exactly the same and in the past few years mine has indeed taken an unlikely turn and suddenly the issues of mortality had become my daily bread. I am the primary caregiver to my bedridden (paralysed stroke survivor) Mother in law. And to be very candid no one could have forseen that 4+ yrs later she would still be alive and kicking.
It’s been a long journey to be sure, but that’s not what this is about. I have, to some extent steeled myself against the inevitable end to this. Or maybe I thought I had.
Through out these years I have been caught off guard repeatedly. I was wiped out when M’s best girlfriend of 60+ yrs passed before she did and M couldn"t even attend the funeral. It just broke my heart. I was kind of sideswiped by that one, she was still in such good health when M’s devastating stroke came. No one would have imagined that she would be the first to pass. Broke my heart, and I began to think the lesson of mortality was more cruel than I had first suspected.
I see M suffer every day, I don’t know why she’s still alive somedays. I’ve learned not to think about it too much. It’s been over 4 yrs after all, you can only gnaw on that bone so long.
I sort of had made my peace with it, in some way. I still worry, even after all this time, when I wake up every morning, ‘is she still alive?’. But it’s too challenging day to day to fall into that too deeply.
Then a couple of months ago I had an experience that got me thinking about these things all over again.
I went into the hospital for a routine mammogram and left, with an appointment for a biopsy, followed by the inevitable, and excrutiating 3 wk wait for the pathology. It was those three weeks that got me. Keeping in mind that my mother died of breast cancer and I had just had a very excitable friend go through the exact experience I was having and end up losing her breast. She was rightly lathered up about the whole experience and in some ways put herself through hell. I spoke with her everyday for a while, it’s all good now though. As it was for me, all good. (Sometimes microcalcifications are just that, and only that).
Here’s the thing, I couldn’t hardly get myself worked up about it. I mean I thought about a lot of things. But I never lost any sleep, ate well, never got drunk. Nothing. My friends thought I was being very circumspect but, really, I just didn’t feel it to be quite honest.
Is it possible the lesson of mortality is just numbing?
I’m sorry this is soo long, and disconnected, your thoughts would be greatly appreciated however.