Heart Shaped Box

Thinking about death, especially of someone who I've had the pleasure to interact with, and in some cases grow up even, always leads me to this quote about death by Lemony Snicket.

It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.
— Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

"When did I last speak to this person?" I've had to ask myself this question about half a dozen times in the last couple of months as I bid adieu to a handful of folks, near and dear. Nothing wakes you up to your own finiteness like death that strikes too close to home. I've grown from a person who's very attached to the family into someone who has learnt to accept that over time one chooses the people that matter in the long run, and that most, if not everyone besides immediate family, do not make the cut.

That aside, I've shared and am sharing a journey with people that did and did not make the cut. And that matters. There's always a small story, a tiny shoe, or perhaps a quick high five that can't be replaced. And that vacuum, however infinitesimal, remains.

I know there will be fewer and fewer moments I'll spend thinking about them. There'll come a point where I'll have a final thought about a person and I'll not realise that I'll never think of that person ever again. It will be in a year or in ten, but the day will come. 

After the day has come and gone, there'll remain a portion of my existence—or whatever signifies it—like that box in my grandma's place that nobody knew what was inside of, representing this person whom I never again will spare a thought for.

What's strange is just as sure as someone never knows when they'll die, they'll never know when they'll make the transformation from a memory to a thought to a box on the shelf. Or whether they'll make the cut. I think I'm a story, a memory, to someone.

Perhaps I'm just a box.