I learned that as many times as you get hit by a train, it never feels differently than the first.
I learned that the moment you think of sending someone flowers, you should. Because later might be too late. Because while you won’t remember the exact reasons why you didn’t, you will remember that none of them were good.
I learned that you should save more cards. Especially the hand-written ones postmarked from half-way across the country. Especially the ones celebrating a little old holiday like St. Patrick’s Day. Especially the ones that say “thanks for making me laugh.”
I learned that “I’m sorry” and “I love you” are somehow simultaneously the most sought after and the most insufficient phrases in the English language, although I’m still working out how that can be.
I learned that even the girl who is often credited with being too analytical, too emotionless, can’t answer the most basic of questions, like “what happened?”
and “what now?”
and “why her?”
and “why now?”
I learned that there is no greater frustration than that.
I learned that, at some point in your life, amid a delicately ferocious balance of abandoned youth and future foresight, a perfect storm encompasses you, and funerals become not only about the death of your grandparent, or uncle, or aunt-this person who is obviously someone’s parent, but never potentially yours. Then, suddenly and violently-without warning-funerals become insight into the fact that this person was not only someone’s parent, but could potentially your parent. This person who has gone is now the parent of someone who is finally younger than you. The parent of someone who, like you, expected their mother to gracefully walk into old age. The parent of someone who could so easily have been you.