Wednesday, April 11, 2012



4 days away.

I may have already changed the name on my library account.  Because #1 it's exciting and #2 it's so much easier than getting a new social.  I definitely don't want to think about that right now.

In fact, there's a lot that I have to think about right now that I don't feel like: getting an apartment, getting a job, paying for, oh, I don't know, food, my current work, resigning from my current work, and this whole wedding thing, you know.  Plus, I am now getting more concerned about proper female role models the more I think about becoming a mom. . .or proper male role models, for that matter.  If my boys want to play with Barbies I'll sure as hell let them, but will they be bullied or teased about it?  I don't think I could handle that. . .

Anyhow, my life is changing dramatically in half a week.  A quarter of a fortnight.  [Which reminds me, totally gonna check out this DVD of Ian McKellen (when he has brown hair!) doing famous Shakespeare monologues.  Afternoon relaxing win!]  And between the fits of hysterical giggling, the all-out fear, the nightmares, the sour tummy, and the almost constant threat of weeping just below the surface, I haven't really gotten much of a chance to think too much about it all.

Growing up is kinda scary.

And let's not forget that Death's just around the corner.  I mean seriously, that dude is always lurking, waiting for you to slip up.  Take your eyes off the road for one second, choose the wrong hallway during a tornado, or eat one too many Twix bars.  I love Twix bars.  Guess we know what I'll die of.  One of my friends used to say she didn't care -- she loved food too much and she wanted to die with a cheeseburger in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other.  NOW THAT'S LIVING.

But honestly, Death really puts things in perspective.  Recently, I've been reading/watching/listening to a lot of stuff involving Death, particularly spouses/lovers/loved ones dying and leaving people depressed, sad, and lonely.  The Hunger Games,  Titanic, even Ghost Whisperer are all conspiring to impress upon me the fact that I would be wrecked if Philip were to die suddenly, and even though I hope he dies after me, old and happy and sleeping, I will still be wrecked.  It's like Tennyson says, my dust would hear him and beat, had I lain for a century dead.

It turns out that there's really only one thing I'm scared of anymore: Philip dying.  I think I can face Death myself.  Despite the fact that I get a little nervous whenever I think about it (and super freaked out when I think about it too much), I feel like Death is a little comforting.  Like they always say, I imagine that it's like returning home.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, coming home again.  But if Philip were to go first, I would be alone.  Without him.  Missing him.  Every single day.  It would be a struggle to construct any kind of meaning for my life.

But ultimately, this is one of the best reminders that I feel I am making the right life choice.  When I think about losing him, I feel an instantaneous searing pain in my chest, and I feel like my heart is literally about to explode.  Which is a bit terrifying.  I have nightmares about him dying (or leaving me), and whenever a spouse dies on TV, I bawl.  Seriously, I cried during the entire episode of GW when Jim dies (don't worry, he comes back. . .somehow).  I thought I was going to make myself sick.  Then I cried for a whole hour during Titanic.    That one actually gets me more, because of at the end when Old Rose is all like, "I don't even have a picture of him; he exists now only in my memory."


As a historian, there is like no worse fate than not being remembered.  I'm sure there are TONS of people who aren't remembered and tons more who won't be. . .in a population of 6 billion that's bound to happen.  But it still kills me every time when someone is nameless and forgotten.  It's like they never existed in the first place.  I console myself with the idea that someone once upon a time knew who they were.

Identity is such paramount to humankind, not just as individuals but as a group.  We are not only defined by how we decide but how everyone else decides we should be defined.  We may try to deny it, but we are so intricately intertwined with the lives of those other 5,999,999,999 people on the planet.  It's completely inescapable.  Because trust me, even if you try to pull an Into the Wild move (God I detest that hideous excuse of a book), someone will find your idiotic rotting corpse in some bus in the wilderness.  And it won't be pretty.

I guess that's why I'm having a philosophical moment -- my identity is changing.  I am still Karen, but I will have a new last name.  I will have someone to run things past all the time, depend on all the time, and in turn have them depend on me all the time.  Fortunately, he is a grown person and not a baby so he's still capable of taking care of himself and I don't have to hold up his head because his poor neck isn't strong enough, but someday one of us will probably poop out and actually need the other to hold our neck up.  At the end of the day, that is the real commitment I am making.  I am resolving to stand by him no matter what.  I am resolving to annoy him and get annoyed by him, to love him and be loved by him, and to be able to call him my partner.  I am unfathomably lucky.

Now, all I have to do is in fact try and make each day count, so that when Death comes, I can look him in the eye and tell him I'm ready.  That I loved and was loved, and that someone mattered to me and I mattered to someone, and that because of that I can go with a clear conscience.

Unless of course I've horribly wronged someone and then I have to haunt them and send them incomprehensible messages until somehow it all turns out okay and they forgive me.

THEN I can die happy.

1 comment:

  1. I have nightmares all the time about Ben leaving me/getting hurt/dying. Terrible.