shorter in breath….
Is it possible to be happy in a world where the clock is ticking, each minute closer to death? For people who believe that we go onto a better place when we die, the clock has little if any impact on their lives. Dreams of heaven, nirvana, offer a sense of meaning to life on earth. But for those who think this is it, that the lights go out when we die, life on earth becomes a race to get it all done.
I’ve talked a lot about my mother on this site, going through her death and the impact it had and still has on my life. My father’s philosophy was “eat, drink, and be merry cuz’ you don’t know when God is gonna whack you.” He died at 57 of a heart attack. For my mother, life was a quest to get it all done. She never stopped, rarely slept and was ready to run at a moment’s notice to anything offering a good time, tap shoes in the car just in case.
When breast cancer hit, she went out singing at a karaoke bar, somehow knowing it would never kill her. And it didn’t for many years until it metastasized to her bones and brain. Even then she believed she was going to live forever, but she didn’t and what I saw was anything but comforting. She fought till the very end, her body barely resembling the beautiful, vibrant woman we all loved so deeply, taking her last breath as we all stood by her side. She never saw Italy or Ireland, lived in the apartment in the city, and never found a man who could rival the passion she had with my father.
What she did was live her life as an exclamation. Her enthusiasm and charisma was contagious and her legacy lives on through me, my sister and brother, her grandchildren, her friends and anyone who had the pleasure of meeting the phenomenal and unforgettable Peg.
And life goes on, right? My sister says it’s the “new normal.” Kind of like life since 9-11. We go about our daily lives, pretending its all okay but knowing something’s not quite right. And we stay busy and fill our lives with work and school and meetings and social engagements, rarely stopping long enough to eat a proper dinner, one that doesn’t come in a "to go" bag. We keep the cell phone at ear’s reach and only take time out to smell the roses if they’re sitting by the check-out stand at the grocery store because if we stop long enough we might have to be alone with our thoughts, and that can be even scarier than life itself.
“Everything is temporary.” Cosmo Castorini, “Moonstruck”
Posted at May 27, 2004 3:51 PM