When I turned 25 back in 2007, there were only two people that I saw that entire day whom were unrelated to me. A quarter-century of life was very personal for me and I chose to spend the day reflecting and meditating, wearing a new outfit and treating myself to lunch at Jean-georges' Mercer Kitchen. However, a few weeks before my birthday I got the idea that it would be cool to meet up with the doctor that delivered me back in the 1982. So I got his information from my mom and then googled him and found out that he now had a private practice close to the hospital where I was born.
So on that day, the 17th of June, 2007 I went to his office, walked in and asked to see him, the receptionist looked very confused and hesitated to call the doctor to the front of the office. But he came out and I shook his hand and thanked him. Told him it was my birthday and twenty-five years prior he had been the first face I most likely saw upon my entrance into this world. Surprisingly, he offered me five minutes to sit and talk to him. He said he had never had a child come and visit him this far along their life path and thank him. We spoke for a while and I was leaving I asked him if he remember the details of my birth (he did not), then I asked, "Is there some sort of reaction common to all children as they are born, what is their most common "first reaction" to birth"?
His response: the first human gesture is the embrace.
After coming into the world, at the beginning of their days, babies wave their arms as if seeking someone. He then added:
Other doctors, who work with people who have already lived their lives, say that the aged, at the end of their days, die trying to raise their arms. Reaching out to their loved ones, or if they don't have any near them, they simply reach out to anyone. They lunge out towards the living as death pulls them in the opposite direction.
I have had the misfortune of seeing people in my family die, quite literally in front of me. I saw my grandfather breath his last breathe as cancer consumed him. He died with my grandmother and his sister embracing him, he too weak to move, that is everything except his eyes. His eyes told his whole story, "they said continue without me, I have carried this family as far as I could, sorry for my untimely exit". My great-grandmother, unable to speak after a debilitating stroke, told me (in spanish) to find a woman who can cook me arroz con salchicha like she could, her kitchen had been ordered closed forever by God. She never walked again but she could move half her body and gesture, and with that one arm she gave tighter hugs that some people could give with six.
And that's it, that's all, no matter how hard we strive or how many words we pile on. Everything comes down to this: between two flutterings, with no more explanation, the voyage occurs...