Watching what I knew to be the final days of my mother’s life were the most emotionally turbulent I’ve ever experienced. From moment to moment I was either drowned in sorrow, fixed in certainty of purpose, bathed in calmness or a dizzying host of other emotions. The one I felt the most was a familiar one. Fear. Thirty years ago I was confront by that same fear, but this time it came as no surprise.
When my father died I felt the most incredible fear you can imagine. Until that summer day in 1980 I didn’t realize how quickly a life, our lives, could change. Tomorrow was so certain until that day, and then suddenly, ‘tomorrow’ wasn’t as absolute as had I believed. I guess it really never was. The day my father died was the day I learned that tomorrow only exists as a possibility; a possibility that we may or may not experience.
I didn’t know when my father walked out of the door that Saturday night he wouldn’t have anymore tomorrows. One thing is certain though, none of us know. Our mortality is something we all live with, yet we don’t dwell on it because it’s morbid, depressing and certainly not good for positive mental health. And yet, in the case of my mother there wasn’t much choice; she was running out of tomorrows and she knew it. I knew it.