The Life You Imagined

“Death so called is a thing which makes men weep, and yet a third of life is passed in sleep.” – Lord Byron

I watched my Dad embrace the death he was approaching. I watched him welcome it and envelope it.

I watched him live death.

Death used to be some vague fear. In the time since my Dad died, deathly thoughts creep up on me out of nowhere to chillingly remind me that I am terrified.

I’m scared it will hurt. I’m more scared by the finality. It’s not like you take a nap and wake and get to start over. It’s just done.

People talk about how they want to die painlessly in their sleep.  I want to know when I’m dying and I want to accept and embrace it. It’s just that when I’m being honest with myself, my thoughts remind how terrifying the unknown of death is.

I’m going to Portland today. I lived there for 6 years in my 20s and I was never happy there. The first trip I took back to Portland after I moved was to visit a good friend. On the drive down I-5, as I hit Vancouver, I was almost overpowered by the feeling that I had to get out of there. I cried hysterically as I steered my car down the freeway. I didn’t want to be there. The unhappiness of my years there,  fighting to become myself, trying desperately to stuff myself into a life I could never live, it all came rushing back to me and I almost turned around and drove back to Seattle.

It’s been a couple years since that first trip back and I’m actually excited this time. I’m going to watch my Blazers play in the second round of the playoffs (the Western Conference Semi Finals!) and I’m going to squeeze in as much touristy stuff as I can. I’ll also be staying in the actual downtown city of Portland, the place I wanted to be so desperately when I lived across the river.

I’ve been thinking about my life there the past few days as I anticipate this trip. It struck me just how different everything is now. I was scared to leave my life there, but still I blew it all up and probably didn’t handle it the best that I could, but I fought the fear and I changed my life.

I’m happy.

I didn’t really know what happiness was and now I feel it every single day. I have the feeling of being really and truly loved for being myself. I get to be myself.

I realized last night that I could die today and it would be okay. I’ve felt real happiness and real love.

Sure, I’d be pissed as hell. There’s so much I still want to do! But I found the things that people spend lifetimes searching for, and I’m thankful for them every day.

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