"We don't actually fear death, we fear no one will notice our absence" (Bones)
That really is true isn't it. The question is Who are we in this kelidescope of life, where do we fit? Will anyone really notice our passing or is that too only a moment of grief for a few? I know now why many have said that "it isn't death that scares me", its the not exisitng, not being remembered, no record that we ever really were here! Isn't our mortality, our exsitence, and ultimately our eternity dependent upon those we leave behind?
On my initial diagnoses I can remember my first thoughts were "I don't want to die!". Then as time went on and I responded to the treatments that fear began to subside, although it did return when I would look at my daughter and realize that no one, no one could raise her as well as I could. But it too would move to the understanding that she would survive, not necessarily in the best of circumstances but her life would go on. It was at this point that the real fear gripped me. I am really not so important that my passing will have a significant effect on this world. In the beginning yes, but then people's lives would return to the perverbial 'normal' and over time my existence would not even be noted. How far back do I remember? My grandparents?....barely. Who talks about them, my parents but they too soon will be gone. Isn't that what scares us as human beings....not exisiting. Not existing in this moment and then finally in history....this realization is humbling...but first before we are humbled, we experience the loneliness that comes with the not really existing...
I remember a story I was told by a good friend a few years ago. He had lost his six year old son about 12 years earlier. He remembered his son every day and there were times when the memories were harder to deal with than others.....those moments when he was reminded that his son would not experience certain times....high school graduation was the one that was making this time particularly difficult. He told me that he would often wonder if anyone else really missed his son or even thought about him. Then one Friday night while he was at home....the doorbell rang. A little annoyed at being bothered he answered the door to find a young girl about 16 or 17 at the door. He knew her as a student from the school and through her parents. She wondered if she could speak to him for a few minutes about a paper she was writing so he invited her in. She then proceeded to tell him that her assignment was to write about someone who had had a profound effect on her life. She wanted to write about his son! She had been close friends with him and his death had changed her forever....she had never forgotten him. Her question, would he talk to her about his son? Needless to say, my friend was moved beyond words. His question had been answered, yes others did remember him!!!!!
I have always remembered this story, because it makes me realize that even when we don't know it...we effect people around us. The Buddists believe that every action that we do exists in the universe for 100,000 years (ripples in the world). So maybe I will be remembered. I know my daughter will, and perhaps even her children......and for now that's enough......just sitting beside the road in a snow drift thinking these days......and that is alright too!