On Mortality

A few days ago, a piece of news came over my Facebook feed about a high school friend. It was his wife, posting on his account, that he had passed, suddenly and without warning, the night before. Now, he and I weren’t necessarily close in high school, and we were facebook friends but hardly ever interacted outside of some casual “likes” on random posts from time to time, but for some reason, his death got me thinking. 

No, not true. It wasn’t “some reason.” It was a specific reason. As far as I know, he’s the first of us to go like this. Not that there hadn’t been deaths from our high school graduating class in the past, but those had been illness or accident or self-inflicted. He was the first to just go to sleep and not wake up.

It feels like a morbid rite of passage, like that point when all of your friends start getting married or having kids, only now, you know you’re on the downward slope. I’m 50, will be 51 in just a few months and by any reckoning, that’s middle age. And now I’m in that demographic where people are starting to die.

Obviously, with a little one who will turn two, the day before I hit 51, that defining moment of mortality has struck me. Yes, I know that it could happen at anytime to anyone, but all of a sudden it feels closer, a bit more real. This isn’t the proverbial stepping off the sidewalk and getting hit by a bus, this is the body just giving out, without rhyme or reason and with no warning. Another reminder to always tell the people you love that you love them, to do what you can to live life to the fullest and that you can’t take it with you.

In the last year or so, I’ve lost about 13 kilos (about 28 1/2 pounds) for a variety of reasons, but certainly up there is I want to be around longer for Monki. I want to do what I can to make sure I’m there for her as long as possible. But in the end, you really do never know, do you?

So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and keep my fingers crossed. There’s no reason to think I’m going anywhere, anytime soon, but just in case, know that while I’m here, I’ll be here.

3 thoughts on “On Mortality

  1. I completely get where you’re coming from. I am fifty and, while I feel in great shape, the specter of death is on my mind. For me, it’s when famous people you know from your childhood or teen years pass, it affects you too. Carrie Fisher’s Death was a hard one. When Harry Anderson passed this week, I lamented on his death but also did the inevitable math to say to myself that he only made it 15 years more. It’s sometimes hard to reconcile that one is on the downward side of life when you feel like you still have enough gas in the tank to go another fifty years. I guess time will tell. It’s great to hear you have the amazing motivation of a beautiful daughter to inspire you to stay on a healthy path.

  2. ‘Begin in the middle… and later learn the beginning. The end will take care of itself.’
    – “Repent Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison

    The mortality thing is something we were aware of 35 years ago, but not down deep in our bones. Now, the literal weight of years weighs heavily upon us as our bodies aren’t as factory-fresh as they used to be. But that same age gives you the same experience and ability to see the beginnings of things as Monki experiences them. By the time you were able to truly understand things, and articulate that understanding of things, you were already deep into your middle years.

    So you really began in the middle. You are now learning about the beginning. Don’t worry about the end.

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