I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.
As I write this, I am sitting on the subway (having miraculously gotten a seat with enough room to type) on my way to the memorial service for my friend Margaret, who died last week.
Her passing was a big shock to me and my husband. We knew that she had been sick, but we had no idea that her illness was life-threatening. We did not know that she had cancer.
As I prepare to honour Margaret’s memory and offer condolences to her husband, I am still reeling from the very unexpected death of my aunt just three months ago. I find it hard to believe that so recently, I was jetting to the other side of the world to comfort my mom and help scatter the ashes of a woman who had been like a second mother to me.
These events – the deaths of my aunt and my friend – have led me to think almost obsessively about the transience of life. I am very aware that at some point over the next few years, I will lose my mom, who is now the last surviving sibling in her family. In all likelihood, because I am ten years younger than my husband, someday I will be widowed – hopefully a long time from now.
And I think about how I am getting along with everyone in my life, how much they all mean to me, and how much it would devastate me if any of them were to suddenly not be here anymore. I worry about whether I am a good enough mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.
I find myself feeling permanently shaken by the idea that at any moment, someone I love could simply and suddenly be gone forever. Arguments and disagreements upset me a great deal more than they used to, because what if I never get a chance to make it up with the other person? What if I never get to say sorry?
Earlier today, I gave one of my best friends a directive that she is not allowed to die. Ever. Not understanding the depth of how I feel about all of this these days, she asked why.
Well, it’s because I value her friendship and although our only communication is via email and Facebook, she is an integral part of my life. And I want her and my other loved ones to be there forever.
I know it’s a simplistic wish – for people to never die – but whenever I lose someone close to me, I feel like a part of me dies with them.
The only bright part of this is that when they die, a part of them stays alive with me – a part of them that I carry with me always, no matter where I go.
My point in all of this is that life is short. There is no time for meaningless disagreements that really don’t matter, and there is no time for people to treat their loved ones in a way that makes them feel unhappy, unwanted, or unworthy.
We need to embrace the people we have, while we still have them.
And when arguments happen, as they invariably do with us humans, there is no better time to patch things up than the present.
(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3036430387/. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)