As I was walking towards the Red Cross store last Friday afternoon, I walked past a sight that always brings a lump to my throat, causes me to take a little pause out of respect and leaves me feeling unnaturally deep in thought the rest of the day. Outside the local Catholic Church – three pristine glistening black vehicles – signs of the memorial going on inside those wall. My heart skips a beat and it may be my imagination but the place seems unusually quiet. I drop my eyes to the black tarmac at my feet an for a split second… think of the stranger who’s moved on and the people they leave behind and I wish them all peace.
In my life so far I have been fortunate to be relatively untouched by death, unavoidable as this sad occurrence is in my future. I’ve never actually attended a funeral service for a loved one. There have been memorial services for a handful of people who are still deeply missed… and a service for an elderly neighbor I barely knew when I was ten, but up till now this event and the grief that comes with it is a foreigner to me… touch wood. Long may it stay that way.
I have no fear of death. I fear pain and how I might die… but death is inevitable. its the only certainty in life as Shakespeare so eloquently puts it “all that lives must die, passing through nature into eternity” (Hamlet). There have been very dark moments in my life that I may have even wished for it, closed my eyes and simply wanted to stop existing… but those days are gone and I don’t wish to dwell there.
I have a few recurrent dreams where I die. Well I say dreams… they are nightmares… vivid and shocking always. I wake gasping for air or on the edge of unstoppable tears. Apparently its rather unusual to actually see the moment you die in a dream which only proves what many already suspected – I’m a little weird. The most memorable and frequent is of my own funeral. I see my coffin, an empty church, a lonely graveside, not a single person to morn my death or celebrate my life. no flowers, no tears. I die leaving no mark on the world totally unnoticed and leave little evidence behind of my existence THAT SCARES ME…
I find it rather interesting that this childhood nightmare has come back to haunt my adult life pretty much since I found out about my PCOS. As if the lack of offspring in my future makes this fear more real, more troublesome. We live on in the memories of those we leave behind… and fate has put an almighty spanner in the works..
I have this burning desire now to make a difference in other ways, to touch peoples’ lives, to help in some way, anyway I can… as if…well, almost as if I have to make up in some way for my inability to be a mother.. I have this whole part of my life now where “being a parent”, “raising my kids” has been scrubbed from the schedule. All this empty time that I need to find things to fill it… to be useful… to try and make some ripples on the waters of existence… maybe to distract myself from what my heart feels should have been… so that the nightmare ending of my dreams does not come to be… so that a handful of people might remember me and smile.