Daily Post: Finite Creatures – At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?
Oh my GOD! Word Press picked my suggestion for today’s prompt. Gulp! At the time I suggested it, I had been reminiscing about some bleak circumstances in my childhood and realized that I had never known of any children dying in any manner – illness, accident, murder…
I remember having terribly painful digestive ailments as a child, so bad that I was often in tears. My mother said it was “growing pains.” I remember telling her that I thought I was dying and she told me, “Kids don’t die, only old people die!”
My stomach and intestines were not relieved with her proclamation although I was relieved to learn that children don’t die. I’m not sure, but I think as I grew older, I began to doubt that children don’t die. I had no proof though, until the night of the fire, August 1967 when the little kids we used to play with ended up dying. They lived in the second story apartment, above where I lived.
I remembered seeing the charred, smoking body of the younger boy I rode bikes with only two days before, being placed upon the webbed lounge chair in the backyard. I suntanned on that very lounge chair a couple days beforehand and now my friend’s burnt body lay upon it.
This was wrong. This was all wrong. “Kids don’t die.” My mother had proclaimed it! She lied to me? She lied to me and I learned that my mortality could be expired at any moment, no matter my age. When Death comes, we don’t have a choice, we go with it.
So, asking when you learned you were not “immortal” may have been the wrong wording. When I sent my suggestion to WordPress, I didn’t like using the word “immortal” but I thought for certain that if I used the wording, “How old were you when you realized you would die someday,” that would be too morbid. Then I thought that with all the popularity of Vampires and Walking Dead, some persons might carry the prompt in other directions and have fun.
Anyway, these were the thoughts that were on my mind when I suggested the prompt. I wondered if anyone else had been told as a child, that “kids don’t die.”
I wrote more in-depth about that fire in another Daily Prompt – A Fiery Night of Prayers.