We went to a birthday party for my friend's three-year-old son on Sunday. I have been friends with his mom since we were in the second grade.
All the children were romping around and my friend came over to me, smiling.
"Say, how's your mom doing?" I asked.
Her face suddenly changed. "She died in February" was her response.
I apologized profusely, as did she. She couldn't believe she hadn't mentioned it before and we realized we mustn't have been keeping in good contact over the last few months. I had spent a lot of time with my friend and her mom was always sweet. I couldn't believe I had unintentionally reminded my friend of her mother's death and I felt like crap.
It got me thinking about mortality, as death usually does. It's funny how we spend most of our time not thinking of something that will happen to us. It's almost a programed delusion. It's hard for a brain to imagine just stopping. Sometimes I wonder as I'm falling asleep if that's what it's like--just shutting down and not coming on again. That wouldn't be so bad, but your brain refuses to realize it's own demise. I understand why the idea of an afterlife seems so comforting. I also understand that the seemingly-omnipotent brain came up with the idea.
It really bothered me to hear about my friend's mom's death. I talk to my mom almost every day and I consider her to be my best friend. The thought of her death scares the hell out of me. I'm sure I'll go back to comforting oblivion, but for one simple Sunday I couldn't shake my fear.
It reminds me of a quote that I wrote down a few years ago:
"I used to think that my brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." --Emo Phillips