This is a short story my friend @limma wrote a couple of weeks ago. It's the first time she has published a story. (She took the picture too)
WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE
“Oh, I just got the message now. We are all going to die!”, he said smiling, while getting up from the sofa. I nodded my head and returned a smile. “Thank you for the reminder”, I said. It’s now been maybe our 10th session. In his late 20’s, Michael suffers from eczema and thinks it’s due to high levels of stress. He believes that meeting with me will help him.
“So how does this app help you exactly?”, I asked him while walking him to the door. “The knowledge that I will die reminds me not to take anything too seriously. It relaxes me and makes me put things in perspective. I believe that getting a reminder to your phone 5 times a day that we are all going to die, can change lives. I recommend you download it too”, he said.
Michael left with a smile on his face, and I started to reflect on what he said. I don’t have much time, I thought, and there are the regular things I need to do, like put a new glass of water out, stroke Sophia that keeps following me, and breath. Before I know it, the doorbell rings.
I go downstairs to open the door to Emily. “I am reflecting a lot about death recently”, she says immediately after she sits down on the sofa and takes a sip from the water. ”Since my grandma died, I keep wondering what happened to her next. I’m worried. How will I know that she is in a safe place? Or if she is scared?”. She asks me questions that usually children ask, I say to myself. Emily is almost 30 years old, she suffers from anxiety.
“I think I had enough of routine”, she continues, “I wake up every morning at the same time, leave the house at the same time, arrive to work at the same time. I actually like my work but still…”. I let her continue with her train of thoughts. “This emptiness, reminds me of when I was a child, maybe 9 or 10 years old, I used to cry every Monday morning on the way to school. It started even on Sunday nights, as I was sad that the weekend is over. I used to feel emptiness and sadness. It was like… like… like… when I used to go with my parents in the car, returning to London from a day trip, and looking at all the buildings from the car’s window, and trying to look inside. I was thinking about the people who live there, who go to work and back every day. It used to make me very sad and scared. I don’t even know why”.
I completely identify with her. The feeling she describes is so familiar to me. I’m pretty sure I had exactly the same thoughts and feelings when I was a child in the same situation. Of-course I can’t say that to her. I’m not her friend, I’m her therapist. And still, I really want to say it.
“Can you talk more about this emptiness feeling?”, I eventually say. She thinks while she strokes Sophia, who is sleeping next to her, on her coat. Her favourite thing in the world is to sit on peoples’ coat, almost like she doesn’t want them to leave. “Funny how every cat has a different character”, I think to myself.
We end the session with two minutes meditation. I’m putting on the usual relaxation music from my phone, asking her to close her eyes and take three deep breaths. I’m looking at her with her eyes closed, and then realised that Sophia woke up and she now looks at me and immediately closes her eyes too. It looks like she is concentrating on the music. “it’s quite funny to look at them both with their eyes closed”, I think to myself, “I wish I could take a photo now”.
Emily stands up, and just before she goes she suddenly says – “Oh, I forgot to mention, I downloaded an app on my phone that sends me a reminder five times a day that we are all going to die. Amazing eh? I think it will calm me down. What do you think?”.
(The app is called 'we croak!')
All rewards from this story will go to @limma