I’ve been thinking a lot about mortality, immortality, legacy, and purpose lately. Actually not just lately. These are things I’ve always dwelled on as an adult. They just weigh heavier as I age, I suppose.
As I watched this woman at work speak glowingly about her teenage grandson, it struck me that I would never know that feeling or have that title of Grandma. The titles I arrived with, daughter and sister, are the same I’m leaving with–no mama, no grandma, no aunt title. I was blessed to have two grandmas, a grandpa, a great-grandma and several great aunts and uncles still living while I was growing up. They all treated my brothers and I like we were golden children. The grandma and aunt roles would have been fun ones to have I think.
So this leads me to think about Darwin’s theory and wonder was my branch of the family line meant to die out for some specific reason? What a waste it seems to me for my mom’s side to come here for a better life for their families and my dad’s side to endure who knows what hell of slavery, segregation and integration only for my generation to be the end of the line. People strived like hell on my behalf. What was the purpose in all that? Surely I’m not just on earth to enforce the AP Stylebook and catch typos.
In the TV show American Horror Story, when Constance’s daughter dies she says that a parent dying makes a child feel their own mortality and a child dying before a parent takes away the parent’s immortality. It was a sad and selfish, but memorable statement. All of the purging of my stuff to declutter also has added to this vague discomfort that I won’t be remembered when I die. No one to pass this stuff down to (I suppose I could lateral it.). As I throw away old news clippings that mentioned me, love letters and cards from defunct relationships, report cards, plaques and trophies, samples of decades old work, I wonder what will there be to show that I was once here. What was the purpose of me being here? I guess few of us have or get answers to that. Those who do are fortunate.
I haven’t figured out how to gracefully accept that, unless my brothers ever marry and have kids, the last leaves of my branch of the family tree will one day finally fall off. And that’s all.