Nothing has brought me closer to death than giving birth.
Before I had my son, I thought about death, but only occasionally, the way I assume most others do. It was there in the abstract, off in the distance, never threatening, never looming. Like a distant cousin, it reminded me of its existence every once in a while, when I happened to pass an accident on the freeway or read a novel with tragic ending, which in turn reminded me to live more purposefully, meaningfully. But apart from its occasional pep talk, it had little to do with me.
Back then, I didn't fear death. If anything, I felt cavalier. So what, I remember saying. What do I have to lose? My life was my own, and I was beholden to no one. If something were to happen to me, a few others may be sad or even devastated, but I didn't own their grief. I was the only one who could potentially suffer, but not really because wouldn't I be dead after all? Just make it quick and don't let me suffer too much, was my canned retort.