I’m No Stranger to Death, and I’m Not Afraid of It.
There are no better words to describe the time now than death and loss.
It’s everywhere we look, from the news to social media. The pandemic has taken away freedom on many fronts, and has caused distress for people who inhabit this planet.
I know death very well, and don’t really feel afraid of it. I know death brings goodness.
As we see in the aftermath of forest fires, the soil becomes rich and fertile to grow new things. It can be seen in winter too, when things die, shrivel and crumple to the ground. The dead stuff is covered by the coming snow, and in the preceding spring of the new year, we see new plants growing. So too does the phoenix rise from its ashes!
I’m no stranger to death because most of my family has passed away.
My father died of a heart attack when I was four.
My father’s family also passed away from heart conditions.
My beloved grandmother died of natural causes when I was, eerily, in my twenty-fourth year.
I’m estranged from my extended family.
I’ve even lost a few pets along the way (three dogs and two cats).
The cat I own now is in her tenth year, an official senior in the fall. I only hope she lives at least another two years.
Then, my mother was diagnosed with endometrial cancer later last year, and got a hysterectomy early this year before the peak of the pandemic. She’s in her 67th year — a milestone year for me as I turn 30 — and she has at least five years left on this planet. But, if there’s anything to be considered, it’s that the wind can change at any time once more, throwing us all off course.
A few years before her diagnosis, which took half a year to get, she was so optimistic she’d live into her nineties, at least to ninety two (the age my grandmother was when she passed away), if not a little older.
She had planned on the next twenty-plus years independent of anyone, spending time out of doors, playing with her dogs, reading and writing books. Then, when it was time, she would venture out to the woods and die happily.
It goes to show you how the wind can change everything you thought would happen, change all that you had planned, all that you set out to do.
Strangely, I just discovered my moon sign is in Scorpio, the sign of death, intuition, inheritance and transformation. I also discovered my black moon Lilith is in Sagittarius, the sign of travel, adventure, expansion and wanting to break away from barriers in life. These signs imply a strained relationship with the mother, and it is true, my mother and I do have a lukewarm relationship.
She taught me to educate myself and to stay strong when things are hard. However, she failed to instill in me a sense of security about the world and about myself. She taught me to distrust the world and the people in it, basing this misconception on her experiences of living in an alcoholic home. I was always laden with her desires, her emotional needs, I never had time to find myself.
My emotional nature was suppressed too to make her feel comfortable, though now I realize how toxic this behavior is.
Hence, in a way, I’ve lost my identity too.
There are times I wonder what awaits me in the future. I’m an only child, the only person really left of my family. Whenever it starts to scare me, I remind myself that death is really the beginning of something new. I will have to learn to trust people, realize the world is free to explore (I just need to toss my old fear away) and find my true, authentic self.
Once this pandemic is over, we will come out of it with a better appreciation for life and search for a way to relish every moment we’re alive.
Jade Bald is a cat mom, writer, and history graduate. She has written for many blogs, including Aroga Yoga, Creative Penn, The Haven, Women Writers Women’s Books, The Hisdoryan, Visibly Affirming, The Good Men Project, and Rebelle Society. When not writing, she enjoys walking, bloody good mysteries, and tea. You could connect with her via Twitter or Instagram.