Not if, but When

Loralee was born on April 28, 1970. Loralee died on June 3rd 1970.

My mom never met her sister; I never met my aunt. She spent her thirty-six days in a hospital. Loralee wasn’t born lucky.

Due to her cleft pallet, she was unable to swallow. The hospital put a tube down her throat to feed her. Instead of going into her esophagus, the tube was misplaced and put into her lungs. After a month and three days, her lungs were filled from the tube’s givings and she died from suffocation.

Loralee Myra French never came home. My mom never got to see her sister. My mother was less than two years old. I wonder what my grandmother told her. How could you explain that to an innocent child?

My mom learned the full story when she was older.

I learned the full story a week ago.

Recently, my great aunt died. I wasn’t close to her. She was an awful person. She put her son through absolute shit, abused my grandmother, and put my mom’s side of the family through living hell.

Even though she was a cruel human being, it hit me hard when she died. As bad as it sounds, it wasn’t hard for me because I cared about her a lot, it was harder for another reason.

As I’m getting older, death is so much more real. I understand it and am effected by it more and it takes place more in my life.  There are so many people who are going to die in my lifetime: my parents, my grandparents, my kindergarten teacher, the owners of my favorite place in the world… There are so many people who have died in my lifetime: my grandfather, my aunt, my favorite artist, my dad’s best friend.

I’m still young, but I’m old enough to understand how abruptly life can end.

I was doing driver’s ed a couple days ago. I read a story about a man who got in a car crash and killed his best friend.

One mistake, one wrong turn, one bad decision, and your life could be done.

We all know we will die one day. It’s not “if;” it’s a “when?”

When am I going to die? When are you going to die? It’s inevitable, unescapable, and, in my opinion, scary. So scary.

On the news, I read about a girl who traveled in Costa Rica, met a man at an Airbnb, and went missing. Later, she was found dead.

One misgiving of trust, one ignorant move, one second of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you could be found lifeless too.

And, then, there’s so many undeserving people who die cruel, miserable deaths. Cancer, suffering, abuse, rape. So many innocent people whose lives get taken away. Just like the young rape victim who was found dead in a suitcase behind a dumpster, just like orphan who starved to death, just like the 13,000 people who died in shootings this year, just like the young baby who only got to spend thirty six days on this earth; my aunt Loralee Mya French.

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