Birth, Death and the New Spring Cleaning

I’ve only posted three blog entries on the Huffington Post – including this one—and they all seem to be about one thing: human frailty. My birthday was at the end of last month, so it’s only normal that I take a good long look at my mortality, right?

To think about the fact that one day I will no longer be here, what kind of legacy I want to leave, and oh, I’m such a failure for not being where I want to be career wise.

I’m twenty-four.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiing! Riiiiiiiing!

Reluctant to open my eyes on the first morning of April, I braced myself. Something had to be wrong… it would explain my restlessness the night before. I sleepily reached across my bed to answer my cellphone and received the news that my stepfather was dead.

What on earth is happening, anyway? It’s as if suddenly death is all around us—around me. It was always there, I suppose, but I’m only just now receiving the memo. The one’s that I love seem to be dropping like flies. If it’s not organ failure, it’s cancer, if it’s not cancer, it’s something else. Each time, it doesn’t make any sense.

I now go about my days in a near constant state of panic, fearful that fate will soon take my mother away from me. Or worse, that I will be taken away from her. She’s been the pillar of so many; and very few people are able to be there for her.

(Isn’t that the way it goes? Typical. Human nature. Hmph.)

The idea of leaving her on this earth to face darkness is incredibly heartbreaking, yet something I have absolutely no way of preparing for.

My stepfather didn’t.

That’s the thing about death. When it’s over, you haven’t a clue! It’s the people who love you that are left behind to suffer, and such thoughts are largely shaping my current grief process.

There are moments when I find myself so angry I can’t see straight—how dare he leave us! How dare he put this burden on my mother while he somewhere resting comfortably? I want my anger to wake him up on the other side and send him back to live. Other times I’m in complete shock—he’s really not coming back.

Most days, however, I find a single thought replaying itself in my mind: Chris hadn’t a single iota that March 31 would be his last full day on earth. If he had, what would he have done differently?

Perhaps nothing. He went about his final day as usual and spoke to my mom approximately one hour before having a massive heart attack not even his doctors could have predicted.

Meanwhile, life doesn’t simply come to a halt out of convenience. When all was said and done I had to return to the mundane struggles of the average millennial—and what am I dealing with? A job that doesn’t pay enough, crippling anxiety and horrendously low self-esteem that manages to sneak in through the back door of my mind every so often.

For the sake of my own happiness in the finite time I have on this planet, I need to love and let go. Love life and others; let go of any and everything that does not serve me.

When it comes right down to it, do I really want to spend precious time on this earth thinking about the people who aren’t there for me? The random people in life who speak unnecessarily harshly because THEY just don’t get it?

The real question becomes “how can I live today?”…Swiftly followed by “what will make me happy right now and how can I do it?” Like many, I am guilty of putting off things that I could accomplish right now out of fear that it won’t be perfect.

Enough. I’m cleaning house and taking out the trash.

Life is too short, and I just don’t have the time.


In Memory of Christopher L. Horton

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