Natasha Richardson

I am so sad about Natasha Richardson. I can’t shake it.

I think about her husband and her boys and how terrible it would be to lose her so young and so suddenly. I think about how their lives will continue to change because of her.
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I have been thinking on death lately, too often maybe. My anxiety about mortality has ticked up several notches recently.

  • A friend of mine died not so long ago just as suddenly.
  • I left my job to write full time. What I will contribute – if I will leave a mark – preoccupies me.
  • I am engaged and thinking about the rest of my life with R.
  • Since it’s my birthday, I’m taking stock of who I am and where I am.

Yes, the writing and the engagement are the occasion for celebration and a greater sense of freedom. Both of those are also significant milestones in my 38th year, another reason for celebration. Yes.

However, they have also been the occasion for a rise in fear: having things I love makes me sensible to their potential loss. What if I were to die now?

How do I protect myself? How do I protect R? How can I be sure that I am making any sort of contribution? Have I done enough? What is in “enough”? (Volume? Quality? And what is the substance of it?)

In the face of a senseless, unexplained loss – an accident, unadulterated chance immune to planning or protection – first, I seize up. I look for my bike helmet, swear to wear it. I develop an instant fear of skiing. I shake my head at my younger self, at how close I came: hit by a car on my bike, innumerable accidents on Rollerblades and skis, countless trips to the emergency room, concussions and broken bones, dislocations, falls and tears. I try to construct a plan of complete protection for everything I love.

After the seizure, I am left with this: there is no way to be certain. Of anything. Absolute safety for yourself, your child, your partner? No. Certainty of your contribution? No. In point of fact, you don’t know. You can’t know.

But that is not an occasion for additional fear. The certain knowledge that you don’t know can be a place of rest. You do your best now. You live now. You write now. You love well and say it often.

I am grateful for what Natasha Richardson brought to her family and to her craft and am so sorry she is gone.

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Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany

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One Comment on “Natasha Richardson”

  1. MF
    March 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    Yes, beautifully put. “Start by admitting, from cradle to grave, it isn’t that long a stay…”

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