Letter to my dying self *

You are 86 years old — as of tonight at 6 PM, 87. You are not allowed to be mad about your upcoming death, as your life has been longer than most.

A few weeks ago you sat in a doctor’s office, receiving your departure ticket. You stopped listening after ‘mass’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘possibly terminal’, as one should — death needs no specifics, it is pretty self explanatory.

‘At least you got some warning. You have been given time to put your affairs in order. You have the chance to tie up any loose ends.’ You thought, as you headed back home.

That night, after washing your teeth, you took a look at yourself in the mirror. Really took a look. You were now a faded version of your once dashing self. You had always joked about how ‘the wither the hair, the closer the snare’ (snare being death) — turns out you were right, as your last grey hair disappeared under the other white ones a while ago and now you are the one about to disappear.

You just hope you have done enough. You were a good child. You studied. You worked. You fought against an oppressive regime. You got arrested but never snitched. You celebrated your country’s new found Freedom. You loved your wife. You raised your three boys alone after their mother died from unexpected heart failure. You taught all your grandchildren how to read and how to ride a bike.

Yet here you are. Sitting in a bench in front of your youngest granddaughter’s school playground, watching her run, play and laugh, completely oblivious to life’s darker things. Your death will be her first and you fear what it might do to her. Have you done enough?

Isn’t it cruel than not even a scheduled appointment with death gives you all the answers? In the end, we are all clueless. Such ignorance can only be embraced, otherwise it will consume you — just as old age has consumed the colour in your hair and the tightness of your skin.

You will now get up from this bench, give your granddaughter a kiss goodbye and head home, were your three loving sons are preparing you a surprise birthday party. Tonight, after everybody has left, you will die peacefully in your sleep. You just hope you have done enough.

*Writing Challenge 2/6

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