Waking up to see another day holds me in suspension. I know that it is inevitable, and that each day I try to go about living my life, it haunts me in the back of my subconscious. There is really only one person that has this great power to reel the thought into reality, forcing me to face the truth. Death is right around the corner, holding no respect of persons. He doesn’t care if you have money, if you’re Asian or Latino, or even if you’re educated. He really could care less. Even more grossly detesting is the constant reminder that manages to bring this all to my attention during the most inopportune times.
It happens every time that I go to visit my Aunt. As a nurse, one of her patient’s is a very elderly woman. Every time I see this woman, it is as if she is on her last lap. Her wispy yellow hair hangs from her balding scalp, and the curls, that she had gotten from the weekly beauty parlor visit, struggles to hang on. Her manicure is always red polish, barely shining on her dull pointy nails. Her lipstick is always this nauseating coral, staining the corners of her mouth, deep inside her wrinkles, even when the color is not on. Her eyes are an icy blue, and the glimmer that was once there, as seen in the framed photos, is all gone. Still, each time I visit and wonder when she will croak, this woman manages to be up and running, and strong at that! She eats her lunch, she has conversations, even though most of them are with her “daughter”. She never had a daughter, but over the years, she had created this little girl in her imagination. She often goes off on tangents, asking the little girl if she wants some green tea. Every time I sit and look at her, I want to flee. Admirably, and astonishingly my Aunt seems to have no fear. She can’t see what I see.
I look at this woman with fear in my heart. As she glimpses at me, or pretends not to acknowledge my existence, staring forward whenever I speak to her, I feel chills. Someone told my Aunt one day that she was traveling. Of course, my Aunt knew that she was going senile. She never likes to really make mention of it. This patient is also her bread and butter. But even though I may wonder how she continues to hold on, each time I stop for a visit, this woman is going strong.
In our silent moments, she looks like she is off in her own world. She is not here in this world. I wonder if she is talking to Death in her world, and if he is excusing her for a few more days. I wonder if she is back in her life’s catalog, searching for her 23rd birthday or her wedding day, or even the day she gave birth to her first son. I know that on the outside though, she is way off, trying to be polite, but really doing her best to ignore me when I ask her if she is okay. She never wants to answer me. Sometimes she makes me question myself. Am i here? Then my Aunt will call her by name and say something along the lines of ” my niece is speaking to you”. ” oh alright”, or “where is she”, she might ask? I sit there, puzzled by this response.
She is my constant reminder. She’s got a family that is just waiting for her to go so that they can get her luxurious apartment in the heart of the city. No one calls, or at least, not much.
It just makes me want to be a better person each day. I just want to have more time with my Mom. I just want to laugh with my Dad a bit longer. I just want to form more loving friendships. I just want to find someone who will love me as much as I know I can love them. Death has no respect. Does not care. He can visit the nine-year old or the 90-year-old. If I am fortunate, or cursed to live that long, I just pray that I am surrounded by those who will still love me. I pray for a phone call, even if I’m babbling about the daughter I’ve never had drinking green teas with me. I will want a visit at least once a week. I want lasting relationships and the love of God to comfort me when I am in my darkest hour and the hair from my head may hang off my scalp showing the silhouette of my skull. Please God I pray, remember me as I receive this constant reminder.