I've had a lot of cause to think about my mortality lately.
A week ago, I attended my uncle's funeral. It the wake of a sad event, I got to spend time with the grown-ups of my childhood. I felt like ten years old again. I got to go back there. Today, I'm sitting in the hotel room in New Jersey for the sex ed conference. Last year when I was here, Harald called me to let me know that the radiation had not worked on his brain tumor.
The week before last, I took my kids to the dentist. It was a few days after my uncle died. As we pulled away, Coen said, "Mommy. Know what I realized? Last time we came to this dentist, you told us that Harald died. Now we're at this dentist and Uncle Boobers died."
"Oh, wow. Yeah. That's true, Coen." I said.
"This is a bad luck dentist!" Coen said. "I wonder who's going to die next time we come."
"Well..." I started.
"Maybe you, Mommy." Lucy piped in.
"No!" Coen said, "Not Mommy."
"Well, you guys, I'm not going to die next time we go to the dentist." I said, hopefully reassuringly.
"Who will die next time Mom?" Lucy said.
"Well, probably no one honey." I said. "It was just a sad coincidence. Not a bad luck dentist. I don't think anyone's going to die."
Coen and Lucy spent the rest of the car ride throwing out names of people who might die next time.
But in the weeks that followed the funeral, both kids were spooked, particularly at night and we talked a lot about death and dying and what it all means.
And I have to tell you, when I fly without my family, I get TERRIFIED. I start thinking of how I should have let them know how much I loved them or at least left the password names for Tad to all our accounts. Last night, I couldn't fall asleep because of the rising anxiety. On the plane, when there is turbulence, and particularly during take-off, I am a wreck. I grip the sides of my seat and I am pretty sure I make some noises. I have to quell my urge to stand up and shriek "We're going down!" Which, if I did that, would be terribly horrible. And horribly funny.
But I'm here. I made it. And I'll make it home. And I know that death is part of life. It's what I tell my kids. We all born and we live and we have a limited time on this spinning earth. And we die. But I plan on making the most of it... the time I have. And teach my kids to do the same.
Do you realize, that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize, we're floating in space?
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize, that everyone you know, someday, will die..
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes,
Let them know you realize that life goes fast...
It's hard to make the good things last...
You realize the sun doesn't go down;
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.--The Flaming Lips