As I’ve grown older, I’ve definitely gotten better at handling various situations. I’m not going to say that I’m perfect, because I’m not close. But I do have less of a temper, and I do look at things in a more mature way. I think back on some of the ways that I reacted to things that happened to me 6 or 8 years ago, and I cringe. Death, however, is something that I can’t come to terms with, and I haven’t figured out how to deal with in an “adult” manner.
What really got me thinking about death, at least enough to write a post about it, was a bird that I saw die on Friday. I was driving and the car in front of me hit this little guy and knocked him to the street. I swerved to miss him as he was floundering around, but the car behind me drove right over him. The whole thing really shook me up. And thus, a blog post was born.
I have a very vivid memory from when I was about 10. My family was shopping for furniture. I think specifically we were shopping for a new kitchen table. I think it was that because I remember the salesman saying that this would be a great place to eat. And I remember my thoughts exactly after he said that. “Why does it matter? We’re all just going to die someday.” Now, I’m not saying that I think that anymore, but it does give some insight into me.
Even now, sometimes I won’t be able to go to sleep for hours, because I will be thinking about dying. I get upset because there is so much left that I want to do, and I can’t ever imagine all of this being over. But I wonder if maybe someday that won’t be the case. Maybe someday I will be done with all of this, and the pain, or loneliness, or something will have built up to the point where I’m ready to go. But I can’t imagine that.
I’ve really had to come to terms with my own mortality in the last two years, since I was diagnosed with diabetes. I know that statistically I am likely to live shorter than I would if I didn’t have this disease. Sure, I know that there are things I can do to make that not the case. And I can hope that a cure will come about. But still, there will always be something in the back of my head that knows there is a good chance that I’m going to die before I “should”. And that terrifies me.
What I fear most, though, isn’t my death, but the death of people around me. I’ve been very lucky in that the people that I love most in the world are mostly still around. I’ve lost two grandparents, but as harsh as this sounds, I was pretty young, and so it affected me completely differently. But I know that eventually that luck is going to run out, and I’m not sure that I know how to handle it.
Because I’m so scared of losing anyone, I think in completely irrational ways. When I see that there has been a car accident somewhere on the way to Dad’s work, my first thought can’t help but be “Was that Dad?” On Saturday I knew that Kelly was going up on her roof, and part of me was convinced that I was going to read on stltoday.com about a girl who fell from the roof of her house while checking for leakage. I get nervous when people are on plane flights, and I sit there constantly updating the flight status to make sure that everything is okay.
So I really don’t know what is going to happen when someone I love dies. I don’t know how I’m going to handle it. And I don’t know how to prepare myself, or if there is even a way to do it. I guess all I can do is continue being a little loony, and hope I can deal with it when it comes. Or hope that everyone I know lives to be in their 100s.