The Gift of Mortality

As another year comes to a close, I taste the tang of mortality on my tongue. Twinkling lights, candles, and gifts decorate the streets and homes, encouraging us to connect in the darkest time of the year. After feasts, celebrations, and New Year’s resolutions, it feels like the best time to be asking:  Can I live better knowing I will die? And what does it mean to live?

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Photo credit: Cory Horowitz

When I was young, I remember my Bubby, my maternal grandmother, pulling her face back so the skin was taut and wrinkle free. We would laugh and laugh, and she engrained in me a lesson that I have integrated into my world: she told me how she earned every wrinkle, that each one told a story of her life. Seeing her face stretched back was hilariously ridiculous because it wasn’t her; it erased her character and the wisdom that she developed through experiencing every moment that lined her face.

Since those deep, belly shaking laughing lessons, I often picture myself as an old woman. In a moment where I need to make a decision, sometimes small, but always important, I transport my mind to my future ancient self. I have thin white hair, frail skin, and very little physical strength as I lie on my death bed, reflecting on my life. Will I regret my choice? Or will I be relieved that I tried, even if it didn’t work out.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. But I can decide, every day, to live life to the fullest.

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Grace and I learning to live right. 


Looking Through Time

Through my dying eyes,
I look back at my life.
I recall the moment
my body is presently in.

My body is here,
But my eyes are there.
Nearly a century from now
They are reflecting on a life well lived.

On the beauty and pain
That accompanies the existence of
Walking the earth.

My eyes see
with a wisdom I do not yet have.
My eyes know
With the experience of age yet to be gained.

How did I fare in my current situation?
How did I respond to my life’s questions?
Do my eyes see regret that I did not follow my heart?
Do my eyes see sorrow for words misspoken?

If so, there is still time.
Time to travel back to where I am now,
And gift myself with these eyes
That have seen so much.

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What do you see? Would love your perspective, leave me a comment.

This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.

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11 Replies to “The Gift of Mortality”

  1. I’m new here and I just have to say, I love this sooooo much. Especially the part about her pulling her face back and the laughter. There’s such joy in that. Can’t wait to read what came before this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so enjoy and look forward to your posts Carmen. I haven’t left a reply in a bit but your questions in this post echo ones I’ve been thinking a lot about over the past several months. Like the lyrics from the country song “live like you are dying” gives me pause and wonder at how mortality can truly be a gift. Just a few months ago my mom was finally set free from the challenges of cancer. She had an amazing loving heart and gifted with touching many lives with a tender hug and kind word that made you feel special. Mom & mortality have taught me the importance of flexibility, attitude, seeking different perspectives, and the courage to stay present…& above all strive to be a grateful and loving person. I’ve got a long way to go, but I start everyday with a smile… that on the good days makes it to my eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My deepest condolences for the loss of your Mom, Mary. I’m honoured that you continue to read my posts, and that this one was able to speak to you at this time. May we all learn from those beautiful qualities that your mom shared with the world.

      Like

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