Sometimes, we come upon realizations from the most unexpected places. For me, one such place was the table in my apartment. I received Christmas cards recently and they are on top of the kitchen table in a messy stack. It's not too much of a stretch to state that for most people, greeting cards bring joy and remind them of the people who care about them. This is the "normal" reaction someone should have in such a situation. My reaction? Well, I guess that's where my realization occurred.
For those who have not read my blog, part of my day job involves searching through the last known residences of lonely deceased individuals who passed away in Los Angeles County. One of my responsibilities is to try to locate living relatives for these folks. One of the main strategies I use when searching through a residence is to find greeting cards and personal letters from family and friends. I then read the cards and check the return addresses for clues on where potential family might reside. Why am I describing all this? Well, this is important context for what I experienced when I looked at the stack of Christmas cards on my table.
What did I think when I looked at those cards? Did I think of the people who sent them to me? Did I think of the importance of family and friends and staying connected? Did I think of all the positive and wonderful feelings associated with the holidays? No, unfortunately I didn't. The very first (and vivid) thought that came to mind was my own death and what would someone in my position do if they were searching through my apartment. Would they go straight to the cards and find return addresses? If they know how to do their job, they most likely would.
Sometimes, we aren't strong enough to handle the emotional burden of a situation. I thought I could handle this job, but I don't think I can. I believe it's time to admit that the presence of these morbid thoughts in mundane situations isn't normal and I need to find a new position as soon as possible so I don't have to deal with such feelings any longer (or as often). I wouldn't have come upon this realization (or at least as soon as I did) if I hadn't looked at those Christmas cards and paid attention to my thoughts.
Being reminded of death every day is tedious. It's tiring. Thinking about the lives of lonely and wretched deceased individuals makes me tired. So. Fucking. Tired. At this point in my life, I am enough of a grownup to admit that something is too much for me to handle. Perhaps, "maturity is knowing what your limitations are" (Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle) and accepting them.
I am too afraid to share these thoughts with friends and family. I will just have to write them here for now.