[personal] Weekend update, a bit of mortality

Yesterday was fairly good in some ways. I got another 2,500 words in on “You Will Attend Until Beauty Awakens”. [info]the_child made substantial if rocky progress on homework with an assist from me at several key junctures. She and I had lunch with my parents, as well. We also wound up rewatching the first Harry Potter movie on DVD last night. As an added bonus, my overnight dreaming included [info]kylecassidy talking at me from a television, his head shaven and horky black hipster glasses on his face.

At the same time, my dinner date cancelled due to the flu, which was a mild bummer for me and a much bigger bummer for her. More importantly, yesterday I learned of two recent deaths. An old friend of the family — of my parents’ generation — died of complications from a severe stroke. And a young writer friend of mine died of complications from metastatic breast cancer, leaving behind her infant daughter. In neither case was the death especially surprising in a larger sense, but in both cases it was unexpected by me.

I don’t walk around in a depressive fugue or anything like that, but I find myself a lot more sensitive to mortality issues these days. As I said to another friend recently, talking about personality changes under extreme stress, the biggest change I see in myself over these past 3.75 years of dealing with cancer is that I’ve utterly lost my once boundless optimism. I don’t think I’ve become sour or withdrawn, I just have no faith in my future. I’ve been shot down way too hard too many times in the past few years to feel like flying high any more. Neither of these deaths are about me in any way, and I wasn’t especially close to either of the women who passed away, but I still feel them like a leaden cloak upon my bent shoulders.

3 thoughts on “[personal] Weekend update, a bit of mortality

  1. stevie says:

    Sounds as if you are in John Donne territory:

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

  2. Kate says:

    Death is a mindfuck, that’s for sure. My mother says, “getting old isn’t for weanies”. I asked once her if that meant because those who manage to get old have to survive witnessing the illnesses and deaths of many/most of their comrades and loved ones. She gave me some serious eyebrow and did the “duh” thing.

    I begin to suspect that the hardest task, for me anyway, is going to be finding joy despite the oh so logical lures of despair.

    Keep breathing, sweetie.

  3. I don’t want to take away the circumstance you are in, but aren’t thoughts about mortality something that also comes with age?

    I’m fifty and started writing seriously only a few years ago despite having the choice to go down that path decades earlier – I despair of that decision. I feel I robbed myself of time to do things, especially with the years left allotted to me. However, at moments when I am trying hard to clearly think about this thread of thought (self-analyze), I realize that it also has to do with hitting (or passing) the halfway point of one’s life, and not being able to do some physical things that one could do at a younger, more lively age.

    I wonder – and it is only guessing – that you have a compounding effect hitting you – the ‘natural mortality’ thinking, adding to your more recent, random event.

    Apologies if I’m way off the mark – I can’t read your mind, and unfortunately I don’t even have the advantage of having met/talked with you.

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