Looking in the mirror it dawns on me that I am truly middle aged.
I’m not sure how this happened, but here it is and I wonder what it is I am meant to do with it.
I am me, after all. No different really than I was yesterday, or the day before, or the year before, or even 10 years before.
I lean in closer to look at my skin.
The same wrinkles that adorned my mother – on her face and her neck – stare back at me.
I used to love those wrinkles on her. They would speak to me of a life well lived, of strength, of wisdom. Why so, then, that I look at my own markers of life and wish for them to be gone?
The fear of death.
We don’t want to die.
We don’t want our lives to come to an end.
As I held my mom in her last lucid hours of life, she looked up at me.
I will miss you all so very much, she had said.
We fear death for all that we will miss – our family, our friends, experiences we wished we had but never garnered, experiences we have had and would dearly love to have again.
We fear we will be forgotten.
Do you think dad will remarry? my mom had asked.
We don’t want to be replaceable.
I look at my skin, wrinkles appearing thick and fast. Nature’s way of preparing us for the inevitable. Giving us plenty of time, to ready us for what must come.
Yet we do not heed nature.
We fight it. We pretend it does not exist. We pray it will not come. We ignore the circle of life.
I do not wish to fight nature.
I am early in my mid life. At least 30 years should rightfully be mine. But already the marching of time strikes fear into my heart.
I do not want to die.
I do not want to miss my family, friends, loved ones.
I do not want to cease to exist.
But I do want a good death. I want to accept it is coming, and open my arms to let it take me when the time is right. I do not want to spend the next 30 years in fear. Please do not let me live my life in fear of something that we know to be true, of something that we cannot stop.
Why? Why do we live in this fear? Why are we told that ageing is bad, and death is something to be dreaded?
Why is it that the grim reaper is portrayed as such an ominous fellow? Surely, death should be pictured as white horses and chariot to carry off my soul? Something to be embraced, not feared.
What story do you have for me today?
Yes, it is true, I have lived quite a life. A largely happy life, though apparently my brain doesn’t realise that all of the time.
Oh I agree, I have a fair bit of wisdom. And so much more to gain.
Oh yes, we have been through a lot you and I.
I look down at my hands. I love hands. The eyes are the windows of the soul, but the hands are the makers, they tell us of a life lived, of what we bring and have created into this world. My hands have many wrinkles. My hands, as with most hands, show my true age. We cannot completely hide the calling signs of death.
Hello wrinkly hands.
You have done so much, and have so much more to do.
I see you coming over that hill as I slowly walk to meet you. Perhaps I won’t fight you, or dread you. Perhaps we can look at each other from this distance and get to know each other. Perhaps by the time we meet, we can embrace each other, like old friends. And we hold hands, you and I, walking off into the distance, as I look behind me one last time at my family, my friends, my life and know that this is all just a circle, a necessary end to the never ending circle of life.
Now, wouldn’t that be nice.