Assumptions About Life and Death

Assumptions:  things that are accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

There are many things we live with as givens, as assumptions that we don’t even know we believe.  Even when we do our best to live with great awareness and consciousness, they still creep in, so universally accepted in our world, that we don’t see the possibility that they could not be true.

Elizabeth Blue, assumptions, grand canyon,

Elizabeth Blue – at the Grand Canyon, January, 2012

As I was sitting with my older daughter Elizabeth last year while she was moving towards her death, I had time to reflect on many assumptions I’d made about her and her life: That she’d live a long and fulfilling life. That wherever we both lived, we’d continue to talk, communicate, and see each other. That no matter our differences and hurt feelings, we’d continue to dive deep into our inner worlds and find places in common and communicate about what we wished for, apologize for any ways we’d hurt each other, and let each other know how much we loved and appreciated each other.

In some ways the assumption about her, or any of us living a long life was foolish, having grown up close to my grandparents, who’d watched both their sons die young, my uncle and my father at ages 21 and 30; I had watched several friends die of cancer who had young children they’d planned on raising; I’d worked with people dying of cancer, including children and young adults, years before Elizabeth had been diagnosed with cancer…so I knew this was a possibility in life.  However, I believed as so many do: not to me, not to my family, not possible, please.

August 19, 2012 from Lucia Maya’s journal – Assumptions

The things i didn’t even realize i was counting on. Assuming without knowing: that Elizabeth would grow up and outlive me. That she’d have a career, whether as an English professor, as she talked about, or a body piercer, another idea that seemed more a youthful way to make some extra money, I didn’t know. Perhaps owning a vintage clothing store, or as a successful writer…

I assumed and hoped: that she would have long term relationship(s) with someone that she would love and find happiness with, that I might like, hopefully marry one of them someday, a wonderful man/woman who loves and adores her, and makes her happy, inspires her creativity, and that they would have children together. That I would have grandchildren to come visit, wherever she lived.

That we would have lots of time to talk and get along, to have intimate conversations and have times where she couldn’t stand me again. Where she desperately needed me, and times when she was so in love and busy she couldn’t answer my calls or texts.

Times where I’d worry if she was happy, had anxiety, was fulfilled, was never going to fall in love; have high enough self-esteem; recover from whatever emotional damage I’ve inflicted, or ways life traumas have wounded her…

It is this loss of the innocence, the loss of all these beliefs and assumptions and my stories of the imagined future that cause me the greatest grief. It is when I go back in my mind to see a “movie” of Elizabeth as she was, and that picture of her in the past holds all these assumptions and beliefs of what was still to come, and it is heartbreaking. All the stories that will never come true. The conversations never had, the joy and the anger and the fear and the wedding(s) and the grandchildren and the growing old, and the love, always the love…

So I take and am grateful for what I still have – the love, the conversations I can still have with her now in spirit, when I listen closely I hear her. I know she is always with me, and the present and the future will look different than what I assumed, and I do the best I can to accept and even love this life, as it is.