When Prince Siddhartha, the future Gautama Buddha, first stumbled upon old age, disease, and death outside the realms of his sheltered palace, he was "greatly disturbed." I had a similar experience spending Sunday in the ER with Debbie's father, who was taken in for chest pains. The sight of old age and disease right before me came like a sharp blow, something I was not used to or prepared for.
My two grandfathers died before I was born, and I was sheltered from the death and funeral of my grandmothers, both of whom died when I was young. I cannot recall ever having gone to a funeral; there have been no major medical emergencies in my immediate family, and my parents are still young enough to be independent and active. I have never had to deal directly with serious bodily illness or death in my twenty-nine years among those closest to me. I guess it's about time I left the palace.
Debbie's father ended up being stable pending some tests, but it was still a scare. I found myself in an existential funk after leaving the hospital, besides being concerned for Dr. Resurreccion's welfare. Disease and death are always potentially just around the corner; old age sneaks up on us a little at a time, but promises to overtake us at some point. I know it sounds silly to just be coming to terms with this reality at such an age, but in all honesty, I never really had it in front of my face before in a way that personally affected me like it did this weekend. I haven't been able to shake this sharp, unsettling feeling that it is just a matter of time before it all hits even closer to home in my own family. Until then...one day at a time.