Mortality Fret

When I read the news of someone’s death, I look at their age and think of how old my children would be if I shuffled off this mortal coil at the deceased’s age.

Yes, I read obituaries – regularly, in fact — and, having lost my father at 12, worry that I will scar my children by dying before they are sufficiently mothered – on days when I fancy the notion that my sticking around won’t inflict more damage than my early departure would.  There are days when I sincerely believe other people should raise my kids for all of our benefit – but this strain of self-doubt shall have to be fodder for another post. The focus of this particular musing is my desire to stick around for a few more decades – for my children and myself.

According to the CDC, the leading cause of death for women 45-54 is cancer, which takes 1/3 of women in this age range. Heart disease takes 14.6% of us.  These two sets of afflictions and the usual middle-aged fears they engender are the reasons that I am seeing doctors, exercising and limiting dairy, wine and red meat. The third biggest killer of women 45-54 scares me the most, however, as I don’t think I can inoculate myself against it: 9.7% of women 45-54 die of unintended injuries.  For a klutz like me who states—often out loud if I’m feeling particularly defensive—at the beginning of every workout that, “My goal is to exercise vigorously without injuring others or myself,” this statistic could be the death of me–and I don’t mean figuratively.  

Hopefully, I will just bruise and not off myself the next time my lack of coordination takes its toll because I want to stick around to see how so many things turn out.  Will my children mature into good, kind, high-functioning adults?  Will this blog ever catch on?  Will Donald Trump really be a serious presidential contender in 2016?  

I want the opportunity to look at my children’s children and know that my little grand ‘troublemaker’ child is my revenge for the pain my kids can be.  I want to hear my adult children’s perspective on my parenting – or maybe not – and hopefully laugh together at my failings and rejoice in what I’ve done right. I want to cuddle a little bundle of revenge and then hand the kid off to one of his or her parents when he or she needs changing.

I want to believe that all of this typing has a purpose and that my words will ease the minds of more than my dozen subscribers—all of whom I know.

I aspire to be around to find out whether any of my prayers are answered. So tonight, I’m going to forego the grape and sign up to exercise tomorrow because I want my presence in my children’s lives to be the reason that they’re in therapy. I don’t want them on the couch because I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil before they are fully formed.  And, I absolutely want to see if my blog amounts to something.

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