In 2005, I got a taste of what it’s like to lose a parent. Tom, in his knowing way, advised me that there is nothing like losing a blood parent to remind you of your mortality. Now, 7 years later, I am faced with the loss of the man who I called Dad (although the man who raised me was more fatherly to me than him) and get to find out for myself if there is any truth to Tom’s theory.
There’s been so much emotion stirring around in my mind. It’s such a confusing mix of good and bad. However, I had yet to bump up against my mortality, until now.
Oddly enough, it happened when I was brushing my teeth and preparing for bed. In the 2 minutes of staring at myself in the mirror, I noticed an odd asymmetry in my torso which I never noticed before now. Previously, I have noticed that the lower edge of my rib cage, and the abdominal muscle lying underneath and between the two sides, protrudes out more than seems natural. But tonight I can clearly see that the left side jets out and down much more than the right.
Initially, wondering if it was my critical eye, I asked theMAN for his input. He confirmed, it wasn’t just me that could see it. He could see it too. “You should get it checked,” he advised, as anyone would. He added, “It’s probably nothing.” But by that time, visions of my own funeral were whirling around in my mind. All I could think was “I don’t wanna die.” I felt completely helpless and doomed. Then I began wailing.
Finally, my wails turned to sobs, and I thought of YaYa’s fear of death in these past 5 years. Of course! This helplessness must have been what he has been feeling. Suddenly, it made complete sense why none of my words were ever enough to completely calm his mind. For I now believe that only coming to terms with our mortality will offer us solace — even if only a little.
As for my asymmetrical, protruding ribcage, I had it looked at. Thankfully, it did turn out to be nothing. Apparently, related to my scoliotic spine yet somehow unnoticed until now.
And just because sometimes things go unnoticed until it is too late, my doctored ordered a cholesterol screening and we discussed my blood pressure. Later, when the email arrived from Mom saying that she has pulled together photos and such for when she dies, it was all I could do not to inform her that she was not allowed to die for another 10 years…or so. I can only do so much facing my mortality at a time.