an imperial affliction

***SPOILER ALERT: if you are under the age of 30 and have not read John Green‘s masterpiece, The Fault in Our Stars, you might want to put this post away for now and read it. If you’re over 30, you probably won’t make the time, so go ahead and continue.

So I just finished The Fault in Our Stars. Literally less than 10 minutes ago. It had come highly recommended by a fellow reader whose taste I trust, and my trust was not misplaced.

There’s a lot to that book, but having read the last third of it pretty quickly (you know how books gather momentum and then take off and you absolutely have to finish RIGHT NOW), I find myself remembering vague shadows of what it was like when my grandmother died over 16 years ago.

But then, also, the story is a love story. And – here’s the big spoiler – the guy dies. And John Green did such a good job letting you really get to know him and really fall in love with him, just like Hazel Grace (the girl), that his relatively sudden descent into the grave leaves you shocked and surprised and empty. And when you finally get past the sentence where he actually dies, you find yourself wondering, “Wait – he can’t really be gone. Is there any chance he’ll come back and show up again?”

Of course, that’s just like life, right? No, the person can’t come back and show up again. They’re gone. And, as morbid or depressing as it may sound, that got me thinking about what it might feel like one day when/if I outlive my parents, siblings, or husband. The denial of their gone-ness. The ache of the emptiness. The wish that we could talk to each other just one more time (which is never enough).

I don’t know how people do it.

It really makes you want to make every day, every single moment count.

Well done, Mr. Green.

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