Season of Lent: Facing Our Mortality
This is the second post of my Lent Series, here is the first post Lent is the Beginning of Change.
Wednesday morning when I woke up, my main concern was to get to church-on time. Breakfast was made the day before and clothes were laid out. Even though it was cold outside, I didn’t fight with my daughter (who is 2) when she clearly stated that she wanted to walk.
We did manage to get there on time, right before the mass started, and I of course was feeling proud that at least once, we made it early.
When the priest put the ashes on my forehead and then my daughter’s, My mood changed from proud to sad. The words the priest said were along the lines of remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
I know we will all die at some point in our lifespan. The lucky ones will go peacefully, some will meet tragic ends, and others will not go willingly. However, the truth is we will all go.
Living here is the United States, I notice that we have a love / hate relationship with mortality. In movies, we glorify it. We show the most gruesome scenes that man can think of and show every detail of it. We pay to look at it.
In our daily lives, we shun it. We try our best to stay young and work hard to keep that girlish figure. We color our gray hair and feel proud when someone guesses our age years younger that what we are.
When our loved ones die, we never say they d–d, we always say, “passed away,” “expired,” or my favorite, “they are in heaven now.”. These terms are nice to say to one another, especially for our delicate sensibilities; but we leave the word dead to the movies and that’s not right.
We try our best to keep our mortality at arms length. We all know our fate, but we don’t want to face it. Regardless, we’ll face it one day, we all will.
I myself am afraid of dying. I don’t think it’s the process that I’m afraid of, after all, I won’t know when it’s happening, but I’m afraid of leaving behind my loved ones. I’m afraid of leaving things undone. Most of all, I’m afraid of leaving my children too soon, and know of all the future milestones that I will not see.
When my father passed away in 2007, the doctor told him to take it easy because he didn’t know how long my dad had. My dad was given this news at one of his check up for his colon cancer. A week later he passed away. He too had these fears, as he said, “I won’t even make it to see my birthday.”
Lent is a time to remind us of our fate; not to be scared of it or try to fight it, but to accept it and work on ourselves as people.
No parent wants to face the idea of their child dying, after all it goes against to reason why we decided to have kids. As adults, everything we do, I feel we must do with grace, and one of those things is not having too many regrets. I would like to be a good example to my daughter in life as well in death, but I only hope that my time will come before her’s.
When I saw the ashes on my daughter’s forehead, I too had to accept that this was her fate as well.