I will never not cry at the airport when I say my goodbyes to my parents. Why should I? Why should I stop myself from feeling something so natural? Better to cry now and have one less thing to regret.
I think I was around ten years old when the concept of “death” was explained to me.
My sweet dad was helping me put up new bedding before going to sleep. I do not remember how exactly it came into discussion, but I asked him if he and mom would ever die. His response was honest but brutal.
He said: “Yes, but later on, when you are all grown up.”
I immediately started to cry and dropped my bed sheet in anger. I screamed at him that I did not want them to die and he started laughing.
Honestly, I am not sure I would have been as brave with my own kid. He said it in such a calm voice with an almost smile on his face. I wonder if maybe he was a little flattered by my reaction, knowing that he was so important to that little crying girl. Knowing that he meant the world to another human being.
Ever since then, “death” has been a constant fear lurking around me. There were so many nights when I would just watch my parents sleep and make sure they were still breathing.
More often than not, I would not leave until I could see their chests rising up and down. I have woken up quite a few times full on crying because I would dream that they died.
Even writing about “death” seems like such a reckless act. As if I might anger it and make it pay me a visit sooner. God forbid!
I just want to know how to go on knowing it is inevitable; knowing that our lives are beautiful but tragically finite. How come all of us are not in constant fear and angst every day?
I get that love and friendships and good living drive us and make us feel warm and fuzzy and that death is a small price to pay for a life well-lived. I get that. But what I cannot seem to get is just how to stop listening to that voice in my head telling me that “it’s a-coming!”
So, expect this: Expect to feel terrified all the time and to blame yourself for every minute spent away from the people you love most in this world.
Expect your heart to stop beating every time the phone rings at an unusual hour in the night or when more than one missed call pops up on your screen.
Expect to regret wishing away your days and not appreciating childhood and teenage years.
Expect to feel so much anger when your parents refuse to see a doctor when they’re sick and they jokingly dismiss you.
The truth is, there is nothing else we can do but live our lives every day. And when those awful moments do come, we can be contempt with the fact that we did everything we could and we did not waste any time.