Teach Us to Care, and Not to Care. Teach Us to Sit Still.

“Then humans will die. Let there be an end to them.”

I’ve been unusual, I guess; I got up to very recently having never experienced the loss of someone I was close to. I imagine myself filling out paperwork on the Other Side, confidently checking boxes next to descriptions of hardships I want to take on, but pausing, tapping my pen, and saying to myself, “This is a lot of bad stuff. I better make something easy.”

Et voila, I lost all my grandparents in childhood and was unfazed; they were old, I thought they deserved rest, and it didn’t help that the two I can remember were not the ones I most wanted to know. Aunts and uncles faded away; no big deal, I hardly knew them. Two months ago, though, I lost my oldest aunt, the family matriarch. I lived with her, which made her happy, but not so much me, as she was a major chatterbox, and I have a fairly low tolerance for that. Still, I listened, feigning interest whenever there was none, and at the end of each long talk, she would smile so genuinely at me and thank me for the conversation.

I don’t miss her. It’s not my way to miss people, with the occasional exception of my little nephews that I’m very close to. I had a best friend from 1st grade through graduating high school that I haven’t seen in more than two decades, and I’m fine with this. Autism thing, maybe. I was my niece’s nanny for her first four years of life, and I adore her beyond words, but I don’t often want to see her. As long as I know the people I care about are well, I don’t really need to spend time with them.

The only person I really enjoy hanging with these days is my youngest sister, and how lucky, I’m moving soon to live with her where she is, and we’ll shortly move to a new place together that will be ours. I’ve never lived apart from my parents, which I know is odd for my age, but remember – autism. I’m excited for it. I’ve actually had a streak of good luck lately that I hope continues, enough to think the gods are finally telling me I should in fact live, not die to escape further torment.

I love my parents. But being with them feels like stasis. They’re old, at the point where they just want to watch TV and laugh together, and while I’m not young anymore, I’m not really old yet either. I can’t stand the stillness of living with them anymore. My sister is more of a whirlwind, working a lot, experimenting with vegan recipes, going for walks (something we used to do together and I’d like to resume). I’m not happy. I don’t know if I’m capable of true happiness. But I’m the closest I’ve been in quite a while. All because she died, and left motion in her wake for me to work my way through, and perhaps ride on to a new life.

Aunt Helen. You know everything now where you are, including, probably, how annoyed I often was with you. I have to believe you have understanding with knowledge now, and you can see I did and do love you. You gave me a good example of what an adult should be, minus a few traits I don’t hope to emulate. Even if I didn’t believe we all go to heaven, I’d have no doubt you went straight there, and are now probably pestering St. Peter and distracting him from his gate-guarding to discuss Christianity.

I don’t miss you. But I’m grateful for the growing up you made me do, and I do have fond memories of you. You just loved me, expecting nothing in return. You went out of your way to say goodnight to me every night. You told me often that you appreciated me and loved having me around. I envy you, the peace you’re at, the perfect world you’re now in. But I love you. Be happy. Be free of everything that weighed you down here. And when I get to where you are, please, be one of the first faces I see.

Author: athlynne

"From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed. I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made." - W.B. Yeats

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