My brother just recently dropped dead at the age of 41 and I can't help but wonder if I am a ticking time bomb. Am I also likely to suffer an aortic dissection? Am I going to die within the next ten years? Will I widow my husband and orphan our young son? Perhaps this is why I haven't been able to bring forth another child? Maybe the strain of pregnancy will kill me? Will my friends and family have to suffer because I'm called home at a young age? Am I going to die soon?
My mother and my uncle were talking about family this past week and a few important things were revealed. I was somewhat aware of this, but my maternal grandfather died at age 50. Yes, I said 50. Even in 1976, dying at 50 was very young. However, I was much more interested in learning about my great-uncle's death. My grandfather's brother died in his 40's. He wasn't feeling well, went home, sat in his favorite chair, and then he died.
Is there some curse that afflicts the men in my family? I haven't heard that the women die all that early, but we've identified three men who died at unnaturally young ages from "natural" causes. Does this affliction skip generations? My uncles, my mother's brothers, are both in their 60s so I would have to assume that they lucked out.
Since my brother was taken so soon, does that mean that perhaps my son has a free pass? Will he be safe from aortic dissection? Of course, since my brother was taken and we are (were) so very similar, I can't help but worry that I might be the next one with a ticket to punch. I think it's clear that there has been a dark cloud hanging over me and I wonder if it's Death's shadow. I wonder if I'm next. Macabre, I know, but there you have it.
I don't fear my own death. Well, I kind of do because I don't think I'll like making the journey all by myself, but I don't worry about what will happen to me because I am sure that I'll end up in the best place ever. However, I do worry about my family and I ache specifically at the thought of my husband and son suffering over my loss. And I don't think my parents could handle losing another child.
I've been beside myself thinking these dark thoughts. My husband suggested that worrying about it isn't going to give any answers and it will just continue to freak me out. He asked me to make an appointment with my doctor and undergo a physical (I'm due for a pap too, darn it!) and find out if there are any tests that can be conducted to determine if I have any weak spots in my blood vessels. It's practical advice and I have scheduled an appointment.
I don't know if I have a ticking time bomb in my body. I don't know if it would even be helpful to know. All I can do is live each day as if it's my last because, for all I know, it might be. I guess that's all anyone can do.