We were getting ready to drive somewhere when Immy let me know she had another song to add to our playlist.
Our playlist is a constantly expanding collection. There are songs from movies and songs from my generation and songs from theirs including a few viral YouTube tunes like raining tacos. I love this ever growing capsule of their childhood.
And that day Immy added “Just A Dream”. We could only find the Nelly version but she was telling me about how she had heard it on YouTube… a female and a male singer and I knew who she meant; Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui.
The song came on during the drive and the kids were enjoying it, singing away in the back and I just started crying.
If you’re not familiar with Christina Grimmie, she was an incredibly talented singer who died last year. She was just 22. She was beginning to live her dreams.
And fuck, that is just so heartbreaking. And sobering. And scarily, not all that uncommon.
We make all these decisions in life on the assumption that we will be here for some time, say 70 years. But that isn’t a promise.
None of us know how long we have.
And honestly, when you really think about it, even 70 years is not that long considering all the potential there is to experience in life.
And it is even shorter when you’re paying the years society expects of you.
Death is a really taboo subject. There are many varied reasons for this but I think perhaps one motivation is that when you think about the inevitability of death, you are inspired to think about life, to really think about your one life.
And there are those who benefit from people not overly considering how they are investing their unpredictably finite time, those who can exploit disordered priorities.
How willingly would a child give up 12 years of their short life to the expectations of others if those around them were more open around the reality of death?
How willingly would a person give up 40 years of long hours working to earn retirement if they weren’t enabled to ignore the possibility that retirement might never come to fruition?
So we listened to the song and we spoke about death. As we have many times before. And we arrived exactly where we wanted to be to live our one life.
Because whilst the awareness of death is sorrowful and an emotionally heavy topic to converse on; it is also empowering. Fear of death in part grows from that realisation that we have floated through existence in ignorance, when it is too late to make changes and how it prevented us from really living at all.
Perhaps we cannot truly know life, without knowing death.