Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mortality

Memories of my father keep floating about.
At a school concert I could see my son, on stage, scanning for us parents. I recall how, under similar circumstances, I would never have this problem; my father’s deaf defying whistling capabilities made sure of that.
While being sick, I noted my son’s repulsive stares at me and the state I was in. He did not want to be there and see me like that. I recall how, witnessing my own father at a similar condition, I could not fathom how this giant of a man could ever be brought down by anything.

There is an overarching theme to these comparisons between my son, myself and my father. It’s a cyclical affair: the death of my father hurts more because I am able to see him in me today, in the way I relate to my son. I am also able to see me in my son, in the way he relates to me.
And since it feels like it was only yesterday that I was a little boy and my father was a towering giant capable of anything, and only yesterday that I saw my father shrinking until eventually dying, life has been put under a brand new perspective. For the first time ever, I can see the end of the tunnel; for the first time ever, life feels agonisingly short.
Yet there is so much I still want to do and achieve.

This realisation, the acknowledgement of the fact I will not be able to achieve everything I want to achieve, I will not be able to read all the books I want to read or travel to all the places I want to travel to, has been served to me in person through the death of my father.
I can see where he was when he was at a similar stage to where I am with my son today. And I can see that it’s all downhill from here. The best achievements of my life are now behind me; the best physique I ever had is now long gone, the best intellectual capabilities I ever had have faded away.
I am a mortal.


Copyrights for the image of Mortality, the book by Christopher Hitchens, are with the author. I highly recommend the book, having awarded it the best book of the year.

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