Exploring My Own Mortality

26 Jan

Sometimes I sit amazed, just thinking about the absolutely stupid and fearless things I did as a teenager and later as a young woman all in the name of freedom and independence.  From the time in tenth grade when I hitch-hiked across town because it was a bazillion degrees outside, I’d missed the metro bus and didn’t want to wait an hour for the next one to come (besides, in my narrow little mind back then nobody but the LAMES would be caught dead on the bus…but funny how I never gave a second thought to actually  being dead in some stranger’s car), to the time in college where I’d gone to class all day, worked the six to eleven shift and then drove my sleepy self nearly four hours from Athens to Albany (down some winding, two lane and at times pitch black roads) just to see my boo for the weekend, it is utterly frightening to now realize how cavalier and reckless I was, and how invincible I believed myself to be back then.

It is because of that “smelling myself, out my momma’s house foolery” that both my honey and I experienced collectively early in life (please believe that he took even bigger daredevil-idiot-risks than I did way back when…but that’s a post for another time) that has forced us to make a point of being especially candid and open with our children when it comes to talking about our lives, our decisions and ultimately preparing them for the fleetingness that is this life.  Apparently however, what I was not prepared for was The Big Girl’s response to the conversation of my inevitable departure from this earth one day.

Snooping throw my purse for loose change as she often does, The Big Girl came across my driver’s license this weekend and began her assessment of everything from the spelling of my full name to the look of my massive post-pregnancy double chin.  After a hysterical laugh at my expense, she noticed the floating donor heart and asked me what it was for.  Explaining to her that when I die, my various organs would be bequeathed to those who might need them, the uncontrollable sobs that she let out made me totally regret even having had the conversation with her.  When I asked her what was wrong, between snorts and sniffles she explained that she did not want anyone else to have my body parts.  I tried to make her understand that I would not be here always so I wouldn’t really need my liver or eyeballs once I was gone, but that only enhanced the hysterics.

Thinking quickly, I admitted that although no one lived forever, I was going to do everything in my power to stick around for the next two hundred years.  Getting a chuckle out of her, I continued by explaining that when it was my time to go to heaven, I could really help the sick people that were still here by promising to let them use the healthy body parts that I couldn’t take with me.  Somber but somewhat placated, The Big Girl finally approved of my tissue contributions.  And as much as the transience conversation with my adolescent child sucked, it was definitely necessary and I am glad that she was able to accept the reality that is life and death.

Ironically, the conversation also revealed to me that out of all The Pack Kids, the Big Girl is likely the one to let me live with her as opposed to putting me in a nursing home when I get old, senile and cantankerous.

Good times.



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