It's been a rather boring Thanksgiving holiday for me. It's been a lonesome one, but from solitude comes introspection and from introspection, perhaps, revelation. I spent the day doing laundry (yay?) and catching up on all the superhero movies I missed this past summer. From The Wolverine to Iron Man 3, I'm caught back up.
I like superhero movies. I'm a geek, one, so they appeal to me in that respect, but more than that I like them for the deeper questions they inspire in me. In watching these movies today and thinking about all the superhero movies I've seen over the course of my life, the question of what I fear entered my mind.
And the answer is rather simple on the surface: I fear death.
Now, taking that at face value it's not all that surprising an answer. But let me elaborate: I fear the death of those I care about.
That's a distinctly superhero-trait. It's a go-to cliche, yes, but it's a very superhero-thing and it surprised me. I had thought the answer would be more self-centered I guess. But I had never really asked the question of myself before.
I'm more than at ease with my own death, whenever it'll happen. It's not like I'm that important ... in the grand scheme of things, what little I bring to the table won't be terribly missed when I go. But at ease with the deaths of others? Not so much. Very much not, in fact.
It's probably a natural human reaction. As a close friend and I were discussing recently, I'm a bit of a control freak. I don't like NOT having a say in things. It's my opinion that if I can affect an outcome for the better, I should, and I very often think I can affect things for the better (though, very often, what I think and what's reality are two different things).
But the death of others is an outcome I can't really affect. Only in certain instances can I be the deciding factor. If a friend or family member needed an organ, needed some money, needed something I could provide, they'll get it. I'll give it to them or find some way to get it to them, absolutely. Naive? Probably. But I've always been colored an optimist.
Even in the midst of situations that look absolutely bleak I try to find some silver lining.
But those types of situations involving death are very rare. Most times, death happens when we least expect it and when we're completely unprepared for it. When we can't be there to stop it or vainly attempt to try to.
And that's my fear, right there. People I care about are going to die away from me. Far away, in all likelihood. I can sit here and scream to the heavens about it, but I can't change the laws of physics (obligatory Trek reference). I'm hours away from my nearest family and more hours away from actual blood family. More hours away from my grandparents and my relatives.
I can do nothing about that. Which doesn't comfort me at all because I want to do SOMETHING about it.
I can't affect any change at critical moments. Not from where I am, no matter where I am, it'll happen when it happens. It's ... it's bull shit, really. Unfair in some respects and sobering in others.
Part of me wants to take this and say to myself "This is why you need to be as much a part of their lives as possible. One day they will die and what will you have done?"
But I can't do that and no other person really can. People live their own lives and build it. They have their friends and their enemies, their trials and tribulations, their thorns and roses. You can't share in everything another person does because then you're intruding on their life and, by extension, not allowing them to BE a person.
There's a middle ground, of course, but as those that know me realize by now ... well, I'm not good at finding the middle grounds in life. You can be a part of someone's life and allow them to have their own life, but the ratios are different for every person.
There's no hard and fast rule. No rule at all, really.
People I care about will die and I won't be there for most of them, not physically anyway. It bothers me and I'm scared of it. I dread it.
I don't think this particular fear ever goes away nor do I think I'm unique in it. I'm sure I'm one of many ... that doesn't comfort me much either.
It's only bound to get worse as I add more people to my life. The heart is capable of infinite amounts of love, I think ... so it's a fear that grows with age. It's a necessary fear I think.
But maybe this is all off-base and I'm just tired (true), a bit lonesome (true), and looking forward to the holiday season being over (maybe true). Whatever the case is, cherish those you love and care for on this Thanksgiving. If you have the ability to give them a hug, give them that hug -- and make it count.
Thanks for reading, folks. God bless.