By Kelly Kelly
Sometime after turning fifty I had a light turn on in my head. No really I did. One minute I was in the dark and the next minute some damn person had switched the light on. At that moment I thought:, “from here on out, every day that I’m healthy and alive, every day that my loved ones are healthy and alive is a gift.” “It’s the gravy. It’s good luck. It’s more than a lot of people ever get.”
“I’ve lived that long now.”
If you’re seventy and no terminal illness, horrible accident, or other tragedy has struck you, then maybe you think I’m too young for that thought. I think you’re incredibly lucky.
Last week I watched my husband’s brother and his wife bury their second child. He was thirty two and died an ugly tragic death twenty five years after his ten year old sister died of leukemia. The morning it happened I rushed to my elderly in-laws house. Scared of them being alone, scared it would push my father-in-law’s heart over the edge, just scared really. As my mother in law and I sobbed into each other’s arms she said, “why did I have to live to see this?”
“Because today, is not one of those gravy days,” I thought. “Today, we’re not lucky.” Today we get to pay our dues for not having died young; for not having died when we thought there was nothing but time. When we thought we were invincible and to some degree, we were.
I often say there are worse things than dying young and one of them might be dying old because once we get to a “certain age”, which I’ve decided is mine, we will begin to lose things. We will lose our parents. We will lose energy and strength and flexibility, even those of us who work hard at keeping it. We will lose friends. We will lose our jobs as we retire which means we’ll lose a large social network and for many of us, our purpose.
If you’re lucky, the losses you have are the ones that every person who grows old will have. If you’re lucky you will die before your children and grandchildren. You will not suffer a true tragedy and you will have someone who cares enough about you when everyone else is gone to see that you are comfortable when you can no longer see to it yourself.
Before you get suicidal reading this, I had another light bulb turn on in my head as I was pondering all of these things.
Gratitude and acceptance.
Being grateful for every “gravy” moment you have and acceptance that “this is life.” It’s real life; not the fantasies from Hollywood movies, or the ones we had in our youth but real life. The kind with great suffering and loss as well as great joy and beauty.
I hope to be one of the lucky ones. I do not expect it as a side effect of being me. I accept that the price of living another beautiful day of sunshine and love is becoming the one who is suffering tomorrow.
I accept and am grateful for the fact that I am part of the human race…until I’m not.
Peace out my friends.