I saw a dead body the other day. It was a traffic accident during a deceptively dangerous snowstorm. This person hit a bridge support and burned to death in the vehicle. What made this hit closer to home was the fact that I passed that exact spot only a half an hour before. It quite literally could have been me, and at the time I had my kid in the car so it would have been him too. My thoughts go out to the families of this as of yet unnamed person (I looked it up but no info has been released).
And this really made me think about life and death and the end to the only journey we as humans get. The person who died had plans. That person had things left undone, had things that have been put off far too long, and had things they were current on. And if it were me and my kid who died that day, the same could have been said of us. I have shit to do, hell, I’m doing it right now. And my kid? He’s got a great brain and a bright future. Loss of life is always tragic but it’s something I don’t really think too much on until it hits home or at least close to it. This was on a purely geographical level, but a level none the less.
I had 50 miles to go before I got home when I saw this and I turned off the radio and drove to the sound of my thoughts. It’s now days later and I haven’t turned on my car stereo yet. I just think when I drive now. Winter is about to set in here, so any short trip to the store could end with my death or disfigurement. Or I could cause that to happen to another person. Ten miles closer to home I realized I’d had all these thoughts before, and very recently.
I’m a cat person, and as cat people know, 2 is the magic number of cats you should have in a home. I have an adult cat who is excellent, but a bit lonely with me having to go to work and do whatever else life begs of me, so I got a kitten about a month ago. I got both cats from the Humane Society, years apart mind you, so I knew she’d be healthy and up to date. But somehow bringing home such a tiny life opens the floodgates and all these macabre thoughts fill my head. Thoughts of life, death, pain, and the rest of the ugly truth about life as sentient bio organism.
I would play with this kitten, this little child, and I would be happy but in the back of my mind I pondered the simple fact that one day, both my cats would die and I would be alone at home. These thoughts are not new to me. I’ve been a cat person since 8 years old and I treat them like family. And things that are treated like family leave a big hole when they go.
It was different when I brought my kid home from the maternity ward. All the terminal thoughts were there, the fear of pain, suffering and mistreatment were all there, but there was more to it. He’s supposed to outlive me. I’m supposed to outlive my cats. And this is neglecting the fact that my son is a human being who will someday tell me to go fuck myself and tell me he at least once that he hates me and in that moment he will mean it more than anything.
And the whole while he will not understand all that goes into raising a child. All the time, all the thought and then the actions to carry out the thoughts. I spend tons of time planning what seeds to plant in my young boy’s head because seeds grow into plants and some are poisonous. Doing right by my boy is me putting all this thought into how to prepare him to be a man. And the only way to do this is to man the fuck up and be the best example of this I can be.
So after I dropped off my kid with his mother, I saw this tragedy and thought about life, death and things left undone all the way home in silence. And then when I got home, I hugged both my cats and called my kid. Then I went to fucking work. Talk about full circle.