I sometimes speak to friends and coworkers about a sense of mortality. As we all get a bit older, those thoughts start creeping into the backs of out minds. I don’t view it as a particularly macabre, I simply think it is just a natural progression.
Throughout our lives we always hear about it… so much so that it becomes just anther saying… or at least that was the case with me.
But as I get older, I certainly think about it more often… and it scares the hell out of me. Not because of what you may think, but for a reason that I never imagined until I felt like it throat punched me one night. The actual transition from life to death doesn’t really scare me. I may live to be 100 years old, or I may die before I finish this post. It is an unknown, and I am comfortable with that.
I am not particularly scared of the method either. Yeah, burning to death or having something slowly kill me would suck for a while, but even that is temporary… doesn’t really freak me out.
The other night, I had been holding Jackson while he was in a laughing mood. At five months old, it is really great to start hearing his giggles and get reactions as he builds up to the big number of just belting out the belly laugh. After that, little B and I were doing the pre-sleep routine. I go into his room with him and he picks out a book to read. As a 23 months old, reading pretty much consists of pointing to the pictures and asking me what each one is… and then repeating it back with a sense of victory.
So we are sitting in his room on the floor and I look up at him as he reads ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and it is absolutely one of the coolest moments in my life. Here I am… sitting here watching our son read a book that was a favorite of mine as a kid… and I can practically see the wrinkles forming in his brain as he learns new things…
…and then I realize that one day it will be gone.
That is what scares me about mortality. The fact that I will not get to be with my sons and wife.
My dad died when I was four years old. I actually remember the police officer coming to tell my mom that he had been killed by a drunk driver while working… I can still see and hear it clearly. Being so young, I never really thought about what was missing in my youth. My dad had died, my mom raised three of us on her own, and that is simply how it was.
But he never got to see me read his favorite book. He never saw me play a sport. He never saw me really screw up and he never saw me fix myself. He was never able to be my dad.
I do not feel like I missed any of the essentials growing up. I just had a different experience than some… although many had one similar to mine. And as an adult, I do not feel sad that I grew up without a father. But as a father, I feel incredible sorrow for my dad not getting those moments with my older sister, myself, and my younger sister… who was born a little less than three months after he died.
So yeah, as cheesy as it sounds, I hug my kids a little closer each day… and I let them stay up a little later than what mommy would like sometimes. I do it just because I am more aware that the time is finite… and I want as many of those minutes that I can get.
Selfish of me? Perhaps. But I’m okay with that. One day, I hope that they will be happy about it too.