Monday, October 31, 2011

A Healthy Fear Of Death

I know that everything that lives must die. I know this. I was a pretty good biology student (listen- you repeat a class twice you get DARN GOOD at it!). It doesn't mean I have to be present for the dying process.

I don't like visiting sick and/or dying people in hospitals. The elderly creep me out. People with certain mental (or other) challenges make me uncomfortable. And funerals? Yeah, don't even bother inviting me. Anything that can be construed as or even hints of "death" needs to stay far away from me.

Today I heard that someone I know, who previously found cancer in their lungs, now has it in their brain. This is, of course, horrible news. I KNOW THIS. But the minute Mami said, "So are they still in the hospital? When are you going to visit?" My knee-jerk response is "Who said I was going to the hospital?" And that was followed by a lecture on how I need to get over it and visit because nothing helps a person heal faster than people showing they care. And I get this, too. It helps to lift people's spirits.

But Mami also forced me to visit my uncle/godfather Angelo in the hospital when he was dying of AIDS and that was horrifying for me. I was just a kid! (OK, maybe I was 18 but still. A KID!) And you can ask anyone present at my grandmother's funeral I DON'T DO WELL WITH DEATH.

Honestly, I don't want to look into the eyes of someone who knows their time is up. I don't have anything to offer except my fear and discomfort. And I know this part is stupid and not possible because, again, I was a pretty good biology student, but I DON'T WANT TO CATCH IT! I don't want to breath death's air! OH MY GOD I'm sorry to say it but it's how I feel! I don't want that chill up my spine. I don't want to hear a deathbed confession. I don't want to see what the cancer is going to do to them and frankly, I shouldn't have to!

My grandmother, YES OF COURSE I took the next flight out to see her entombed because that woman raised me and I loved her like no other. That funeral I HAD TO attend. But you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of my immediate family to get me near a grave again.

It sounds selfish, I know, and I should get over it because everyone dies and I cannot avoid funerals forever. And I'm truly sorry that this person is really ill right now, but... man, when Mami drags me to that hospital it's all I'll be able to do to not have a full-blown anxiety attack.

*smooches...hoping the treatments work*
then I'd have nothing to worry about because they'll be home. Selfish, I know...