Mid thirties is a strange age to be in. I first knew about the concept of death when I was 8 and my grandfather passed away. He was 54 years old. Until his passing, he was the only man I ever looked up to. I grew up with him teaching me tennis and holding my hand. And though while we were told that he had died at the time, I never really felt grief until I became a teenager and started missing him.
I kept wondering what life would have been with him around. Oh how the dynamics in our family would have changed because he was such a central force to reckon with, a lynchpin.
The second death in my immediate circle was the passing of my grandmother at 90 years old a year ago. A death that comes naturally with a life that’s lived and in the natural order of things is easier to accept.
But all around me for two years now friends, colleagues and acquaintances have slipped to the after life, like a house of cards falling slowly one by one. When people die in their mid thirties or forties or fifties, we say, they’re too young to go.
It makes me wonder how far is this dark harvest from taking away anyone I know in my closest circle? I wonder if we are courting death too much at our age with our lifestyle choices or is it simply, as fatalists would say, when it’s your time to go, it’s time to go? Death keeps getting younger. Or have we just grown older?
And as grim and morbid as this subject may be, it’s a reality that we all have to face. Every person’s passing is a stark reminder of how fragile, how thin is the line that divides dying from living. We could be gone in an instant, leaving just memories behind.
It makes me want to fly home and attend every friend’s birthday, wedding or homecoming. It makes me want to not miss anything for fear it might be the last. It makes me want to reach out and iron every kink there ever was in any relationship I have with others and say, “Whatever it is that’s putting this wedge between us, it’s alright and it’s not significant. My love for you trumps everything else. Everything.”
It makes me want to huddle close to my children and hold them dearly so that my embrace will stay in their memory; so they feel loved with all of my life, long after I’ll be gone. It makes me want to put down in writing all the stories swirling in my head. To make a mark, to leave a legacy that will forever live in the hearts I hope will be touched.
It makes me see how precious each day can be and the only way to go is to not waste talent, to love life and above all, to live it fully.