I remember when I first found out about death. I was young, younger than 7. I believe and my brother and I were rummaging through some old things we found in a cupboard. We happened upon a picture of my late grandmother and I asked my brother what happened to her. I never really knew her so it wasn’t as if I thought of her often or at all really. Again, I was pretty young. He told me that she had died. I asked why. At this point I understood that people die of various causes, but what I didn’t know was that everyone has to die. I didn’t know that a requirement of life is, actually, death. If you live, at some point, you also have to die. That was a really difficult concept for young me to grasp. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that all of us, my mom, my dad, my brothers and myself were all going to die! What was the point then, I asked him. I believe at this point my brother, who was only seven years older, was wise enough to realize that this was not something he could explain to a less than 7 year old. So, he brought my dad into it. My father explained to me that, yes, we would all die, but not for many, many years. He wanted me to focus on all the good years ahead of me I still had and that seemed calm me down. At the time I was somehow content with having many, many years to live.
Now I am 28 years old and my dad, well, he’s 76 and he’s begun to show signs that, well, he’s 76. The truth is, I’m scared. I’m scared of death. I’m afraid of what it means to lose someone you love and never see them again. See, I’ve been lucky enough to never have lost anyone. Many, many years have gone by and I just let them. One of my brothers recently told me that life is a cycle. We start young, we grow up, we take care of someone important to us, and then we grow old and that person takes care of us. It’s now my turn to take care of my dad. Be there for him like he always was for me. Maybe being a real adult isn’t just about getting bacon on the table, but also about living the cycle.