“When I was 17, I read a quote…for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?'” – Steve Jobs
Contemplating death, allows us to choose how we live our lives. There is little that causes us to prioritize importance in quite the way the looming consideration of death can. Until my parents were older, and seriously ill, I cannot say I spent any significant time thinking about death – theirs or mine. But since that 18 month period while embroiled in their illnesses and ultimate deaths a few years ago, I have.
The book I wrote, chronicling this period of time, altered me in ways I could not imagine. Christopher Buckley recently had a book published about losing his parents in a one year time frame. My parents died within three months of one another. I do not have the means or fame of Christo, who wrote a compelling story. And that is one of the reasons (although not the most pressing) for writing about it. None of us make it out of this world alive (as my mother used to say) and as a baby boomer, our parents will (if they haven’t already) die sooner rather than later. Some baby boomers are addressing serious health, possibly life and death, issues themselves. Becoming an orphan, being next up at bat, are the beginning stages of allowing what we fight hard against into the sphere of our awareness. And the interesting thing about that is – it works to make us kinder folk – because it brings us out of our heads and into our hearts and bodies. The ensuing transformation can be stupefying. A tenderness is borne from the vulnerability of loss, as we are engaged in a process greater than ourselves. I write in my book: “What is happening is bigger than I know what to do with, than I know how to write about, than I can think myself through.” And yet, we manage to endure what we may consider unbearable. Humans are remarkably resilient.
If anyone knows of a legitimate literary agent or publisher, please be in touch. Publishing this story would be one of my dreams come true. And thank you, in advance.