Tuesday, January 31

day 10651: sometimes there is no tomorrow

A woman died today.

She wasn’t young. She wasn’t old. She wasn’t exceptional by any means. She never led a country. She never made a major contribution to society. No one will remember her for doing anything extraordinary. And except for the people who knew her, and a few plaques bearing her name in some remote school in some remote part of China, no one will remember her in a few years.

Her existence will begin to fade as soon as the last mourner walks away.

… … …

Yet, it feels like the news should be shouted from rooftops and plastered in headlines around the world.

A woman died today.

A good woman died today.

The world should know.

She was a mother, a wife, a friend to many, a person who cared about the well-being and feelings of everyone around her. She raised money for her charities, answering pledge calls even as she sat in emergency room after emergency room, waiting for her own pains to be diagnosed.

She bore her illness in stoic silence; never really saying a word about her suffering, never really asking for help. She hid the extent of her cancer from the world around her. She downplayed her illness, consoled others, hid her fears behind a smile and passed on stories of hope. Her children came and left after the holidays thinking that she was on the mend. Her husband only flew into town from Hong Kong last week. Her elderly mother still does not know.

She fought the battle courageously, but lost it quickly.

… … …

We like to believe that we are immortal. We like to believe that the people around us are immortal. We don’t pay enough attention to the present, thinking that we’ll always have time later to make amends and tell them that we love them. There will always be a tomorrow, we think, and so, we put it off.

We put off visiting our parents. We put of thanking them for guiding us into who we have become. We put off telling our grandparents how much we care about them. We put off telling people that we forgive them, and that we don’t really harbour a grudge. We put off caring about the people around us. We put off caring about ourselves.

There will always be a tomorrow, we tell ourselves.

But sometimes there isn’t.

… … …

She will be missed.