I remember when I looked at my dad with my 20 years old eyes, I see him “old” already, and he was younger than me today.
I see him now, in his eighties, and my mum close to that, and I still feel this sentiment of being their son, have someone to look up to, and also to look for, on top of the bilateral feeling of unconditional love that is also symmetrical aNd replicated towards my children.
Statistically speaking, the humans lucky enough to still have both their parents alive and kicking at my age are not the majority, and the fact of being able to interact with them in the very same adult way for so many years, with them witnessing (a lot of their) grandchildren growing up, is it something that I can’t be grateful enough for. I am very lucky.
Pain changes you. The way it changes you is inversely proportional to how little you understand it and how predictably you see it coming. I saw both of my grandmas grow very old (on different paths and at different degrees of intensity) then slowly declining but still pretty much conscious, at some points leaving their kids (my parents and uncles) very far away in life.
I witnessed the difference in my family between the way two of my uncles departed, both inexorably sick but one gone unexpectedly and the other leaving his family (my cousins and his wife) with time to mourn.
Time to mourn. It changes everything.
I am so unaware of this type of pain, and I am getting to an age where even against my own will I can’t ignore it anymore. I cannot pretend it won’t ever touch me, and at the same time I can’t just train my mourning skills, because truth is you are never prepared to it. Never.
“Just put my ashes in the sea I spent my whole life close by” says mum, with the lucid consciousness of someone who IS living an extremely lucky life, still being a pillar to the whole family and close to her eighties.
Again, statistically speaking, everyone comes across to inexplicable, unreal, profoundly life changing, excruciating pain, and it touches you in a way that belongs to each one of us, leaving everyone with her own capacity (or incapacity, sometimes) to process it.
Do I need a cancer to realise I need to be grateful to simply breath? Do I need someone I love and close to me to be gone to remember what’s important, for real? Do I need to experience inexplicable pain to remind myself the beauty and the opportunity to be alive?
My son just got on LinkedIn, and started reading this newsletter. I once said I am writing these posts also because he (and his sister, once she will get on it) can have something written by me at reach available forever, and he said this very thoughts gave him a touch of sadness, thinking of a time (in half a century at least, and more with AI) where this newsletter will stop.
It is IMPOSSIBLE not to have love FOMO. At least, I can’t not to.
I am constantly thinking I am not saying “I love you” enough, I am not sticking to my family close enough, I am not dedicating enough time and energy to who is just at a phone call reach and probably would be really grateful to have a conversation, or a hug.
But maybe I can be mindful in expressing gratitude, leave my door open to love and kindness, and simply acknowledge life as a gift i never asked for, and the opportunity to make it a gift to others.