The sense that life is fragile and easily disrupted has been growing in me over the last few months. It probably started last year when I visited my grandmother who is extremely old now, nearly bed-ridden and unable to speak. In the last couple of months, I’ve found out that my sister’s health has been deteriorating too. She is younger than I am by 3 years.
I’ve always thought I knew that life is relatively short, people get old or sick and eventually die. But I didn’t understand that my knowledge lived on the intellectual level and that on the deepest level, I didn’t believe that it could happen to me. That has shifted and for the first time, I’ve started to feel some dread about illness and the change that illness brings, about death and the cessation of existence that it entails.
I’m not sure if this has changed me or if it will. I hope that I will not be more fearful or anxious and that instead, I will be more appreciative of my health and the health of those I love, more compassionate to those who are ill. It may be that it is a package however, that as with so many things, vulnerability engenders compassion.