Too many friends and touchstones of mine are bumping up against illness and death. One of them, who dealt with breast cancer many years ago, now has brain lesions. Another may have an aneurysm and there is no idea how it got there or how long it’s been there. A third had a stroke and is now a brain locked inside a body that does not work; this fierce and articulate man can’t even talk.
Every day brings the death of another acting or music icon that helped me travel my lifepath.
I see my cousins looking tottering and old, no longer having any thoughts for themselves but everything devoted to the grandchildren, as if they don’t mind being erased from mattering in the world except as babysitters and sources of money.
And as I attend meetings for my 50th high school reunion (yes, I am on the committee), again the conversations constantly turn to grandchildren, to retirement vacations, to things that I have no way to relate to.
When you’ve never had kids, I often say, you’re just the biggest kid in the room. And it’s true; I have always come across as younger than I am, and that’s because I *think* younger than I am. I haven’t had all the markers that parents have in terms of how the children grow up; they are forced to look at themselves aging because of it.
The only person I’ve ever had to raise was me.
And yet, even though I feel forty in my brain, the body is 68. I look at it and shudder sometimes — the crepey neck, the bulldog jowls, the gnarled hands that look so much like my father’s, the old-lady body shape, the puffy ankles.
My fierce eyes look at life through an aging face.
I am only 12 years younger than my father was when he died. And I am ten years older than my mother ever got to be.
I have so much more I want to do. I want to teach more, I want to reach more people with my voice and my words; there surely is another book or two in there I want to write.
Twenty one years of marriage with my husband isn’t nearly enough. (His family lives into their nineties… but mine doesn’t.)
And even though in my business I speak to the dead and channel past lives, it’s the soul that continues; this particular human recipe is one-and-done. It is when we reach our best selves that there is a gossamer-touch of what our Soul is…and it may be that we are remembered by the Soul when we’re done.
So every single day I wake up reach for life. I resent a day when I don’t wake up ready to roar, but the body is stiff and I shuffle to the coffee maker. Yes, it passes — most days. But it’s one more reminder of death tapping me on the shoulder.
And I recall the most poignant comment from the Eleventh Doctor (“my” Doctor) as he was about to regenerate to number Twelve :
We all change, when you think about it; we’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.
I will always remember when The Doctor was me.
I hope my Soul remembers being me.