I smelled my own death this week. I cannot remember what I was doing but I remember it happening. Just suddenly a subtle whiff of that old person smell…soft, slightly dusty. The smell of my grandparents in years gone by, the smell of my parents in more recent years and now, terrifyingly, the smell of myself.
Up until that whiff the dis-ease I have felt, the feeling of lack, of all being not quite right, had been faint and niggling, like something not quite remmbered. Once I smelled my death it has become a panic, a terror of lives unlived, loves unloved and futures never materialized.
I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
This life I have lived has been glorious with heartbreak and desperation, terror and rage, happiness and exhilaration and most recently joy and contentment…..and yet, suddenly or so it seems, the panic and sense of missing something important has set in. I feel like I have misplaced my passport while in a strange and forgien country…or how I would feel to wake and realize I don’t know my own name.
NOthing to point to, no event to say, "there, THAT was the moment of my mortality". My 50th birthday passed without anything resembling fear or a realization of oldagedness. If anything I felt more alive, that 50 was just something people did. Holly’s death? Perhaps, a tragic tale to be sure, but hospital deaths have been a part of my life for over 30 years and while they are sad and tragic and even sometimes merciful, they have done nothing so much as make me appreciate what I have. Ally’s impending graduation? That my youngest will soon to be an adult could perhaps instill some melencoly but since she still is unable to phone and make a haircut appointment I don’t really feel her adulthood looming too near.
Or is it this day? The Ides, the day I will eternally remind myself of each year, that all of us, even me can step out and create and destroy beyond our wildest dreams. To create a nightmare and change our lives. dark Goddess……….
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker.
More and more I find a sense of fraud lingering in my vincinity. I have forgotten more than I ever now know and all around me rush the young heady with their competence and mastery of tasks of living and working in the technological maze of life in the 21 century. How did I get so old?
And in the evenings as I wrap myself in the warmth of the fireplace will I wonder if it would have been better to squeeze the universe into a ball?