I’ve spent a lot of my time contemplating death.
But I’ve never thought about it in terms of staring it in the face, knowing it was chasing me down, ready to take me captive. It’s been something I think of as a choice.
Someone I love was taken into hospital today. As he looked into the loving faces that came to see him, he lit up and admitted fear. A fear that he might not come out.
He has a degenerative condition. His latest episode left him wondering if this was it. As he struggled to breath but still made jokes with his nurses, I looked within.
How can I possibly take life for granted when others fear loosing it?
It’s a simple and obvious truth but one that’s stayed with me. Maybe because it was someone I loved holding on, scared of dying.
Maybe it was seeing the impact on my family – hurt by seeing him so weak, vulnerable and frightened.
There’s something else though.
In all this, I know he will survive this episode. My fear is what we’re going to see and what he will have to go through as degeneration sets in and he eventually can’t walk or breath unaided. I know this will mentally torment and torture him.
And then another fear raises its head. One day, this could happen to my dad who I don’t speak to anymore. How will I feel then?
All of this is worry about a future that isn’t written
I’m allowing myself to admit these feelings and come to terms with them so I don’t bury them under busy hospital visits between work and pretend they aren’t there.
I’m sure it will help avoid the moment the thoughts are suddenly present and have taken hold of me, debilitating my ability to get on and be positive.
I hope by expressing this here and to some people this will stop me melting and keep me strong for the people I love: My uncle in hospital and my heartbroken family.
I hope watching death chase someone I love, helps me love life and makes me present in the only moment I really have any guarantee of. This moment, right now.