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  • Writer's pictureRachel Gross

Sometimes I Think About Death

Don't worry, I'm fine. I know some of you saw that title and was like OMG! But, seriously, I am good. I am healthy, happy, and for the most part, enjoying my life (I really wish this corona thing was over.)

Sometimes I think about death. I do. I think about it more than the average 24 year old does. I think about it more than the average person does, in general, because I'm disabled.

When you're disabled, you are introduced to death at a very young age. Growing up and attending a school for kids with physical disabilities, I was no stranger to it. And neither were my friends. It seemed like every school year, we would lose someone. I remember, I was in second or third grade when one of the upperclassmen in my school passed away. I was so young, and even though I wasn't really friends with this person since they were much older than me, something changed within me.

My friend group has always been super tight, and we were lucky that none of us were "unlucky". But, in ninth grade, we lost our friend, Jordan. And just last year, we lost our friend, Juaquan. We've experienced death together before, we've grieved together before, but this was different. No one can prepare you for a death of a friend, especially at such a young age. But yet, somehow, we knew how to handle it. We're only 24, and we've already lost two.

When you're disabled, you are forced to reckon with your mortality. The good thing about my condition, is that it isn't progressive. I'm not going to get worse or deteriorate over time, besides normal aging. But, there are still so many people with my condition who have not made it as far as I have, and that's scary. I don't have a prognosis (thank god), so it's not like I have a timer on my life, which I am extremely thankful for.

I wouldn't say I am afraid of death. Rather, I am afraid of not living. I'm afraid that I won't be able to do all the things I wanna do in this life, while I'm still here. I'm afraid that I'll never find true love and get married. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to have a family of my own. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to travel across Europe like I've always wanted to do. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to live on my own, outside of my parent's home. I'm afraid that my legacy won't mean enough. I want to be remembered for something. I want to own a home, have a husband, a few children, definitely a few dogs and cats lol. But, somehow, in the back of my mind, there is always this tiny thought that I won't be able to.

That being said, I always live my life like there's no tomorrow. I know it's a cliche thing to say. But, when death is so prevalent in your life, you don't really have a choice. Disabled or not, we never know when our last day will be. So, enjoy every minute of it, dance in the rain, go skydiving, go swimming with the sharks, go climb Mount Everest, don't be afraid to try and experience new things, and most importantly, remember to always tell your loved ones that you love them.

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