The Death Before Death

We are all born with a need to be useful.

It may not seem like it, sometimes. We get tired, or feel put upon, or maybe feel the need to focus on ourselves.

But, ultimately, we all strive, from a young age, to grow the scope of our powers: and by our teens we want those powers to matter. To others.

It might be a select few, or a faceless many. But we want what we can do to matter to them.

So what happens is, given whatever circumstances we are handed, we work to build ourselves into the best form of what we want to be. We go to work, wherever that may be, continuing to try to grow our powers. We get good at what we do: as workers, as parents, as lovers. We get good at almost everything.

Except noticing the calendar.

Because one day we look up and realize: we’re not really needed anymore. Because time, that greatest of thieves, has stolen our usefulness.

Healthy people find new ways to be useful. But others struggle, having spent their whole life developing one set of skills, unable to adapt.

And it feels like being lost: a whole new land where you don’t speak the language.

And it feels like grief: to be mourning the absence of a person you never thought you’d be separated from.

And it feels like death: to have outlived one’s purpose.

The death before death.

I walk out on the aging bridge,
The train tracks left here long ago:
I’m gazing out across the ridge
Out where nobody cares to go

For once, the builders, young and strong
Erected this to stand all stress,
But never thought, in not too long,
It would outlive its


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2 Thoughts to “The Death Before Death

  1. “But never thought, in not too long,
    It would outlive its…usefulness”
    Absolutely love this! Thank you!

  2. It’s extremely difficult to not be able to earn your own living once the body decides for you. I’m still grieving that useful me.
    But my dogs rely on me to feed them and pick up their poo. So, that’s good.

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