Some years back both of my grandfathers spoke with me on separate occasions about how it wasn’t always the physical deterioration of growing older that hurt but the speed at which death took their friends, family and companions.
I don’t remember what prompted the conversations but I know they were both in their nineties when we had them and that each time they would mention names of people I knew but had never met.
That was because those people had either died when I was too young to remember them or in some cases decades before they were born.
Death and I have shared more time together than I care to think about and not just because that old bag of bones has taken close friends but because periodically I hear people ask what you should wear or do at a funeral and I am always surprised.
Surprised because without counting I bet I have been to more than 30 funerals. At 46 I can’t decide whether that is a lot or a little, but I tend to think it is a lot.
Hard to say without real data to review.
Cycles & Circles Of Life
The really handsome and humble kid in that picture is me alongside the elder three generations of Wilner men.
It is kind of funny to look at it now and realize in a relatively small chunk of years I’ll be twice as old as my father was when we took that picture.
But in some ways it is stranger to realize that my position in the photo has changed too. We took a modern version when my son was little and I moved from number four to number three, but that is not current anymore either.
That is because my great grandfather and grandpa are both gone. Dad became grandpa and I became dad.
Since I am technically in second decade of parenting it doesn’t feel strange to hear someone call me dad any more and with some common sense and a bit of luck it will be a long while before I become grandpa.Death and I have shared more time together than I care to think about and not just because that...Click To Tweet
What has started to throw me a bit is how many of my contemporaries have become grandparents and how it is becoming more common for me to get a call or email from them about losing their parents.
It used to be uncommon and when the call came it meant that someone’s mom/dad had the misfortune of dying young in an accident or through terminal illness.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that it is easier to lose a parent at any age. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said they wish they had more time with mom or dad.
All I am saying is that I recognize that my generation has finally reached that age where it is less uncommon to have lost a parent.
Time To Make A Will
The guys and I have spoken on several occasions about whether we have a will and when is a good time to make one.
I have thought about it more than a few times but haven’t done anything because I didn’t think of myself as having a particularly large estate to pass along to the kids.
Not to mention I forget about it, death isn’t something I really worry about. If you know me you know I plan on living to be 130.
If Death decides to shorten my thread I’ll defenestrate his bony ass and use his scythe to slice him into a dozen treats for the dog.
But I figure that it would probably be wise to set something up because everyone has a bad day and that dude could catch me on one and you never know what can happen.
Still I’ll match my perfect record for surviving every bad day I have ever had against the other guy. Wilner men have a good record for beating the odds and I am not going to be the first to blow that.
Some of you might have noticed that writing about time has been a theme of mine and are wondering what I am doing and where I am going.
I am not just writing about Wrestling With Time and Dinosaurs.
I am actively working on stuff that is supposed to help lead the way into the next chapter of life but I am really not writing much about it.
Some of that is because I am not ready to share some of that and some of it is because it is not ready to be shared. Fact is the only reason I am putting these words down now is because there is a chance that one day in the future the kids might read this and I want them to know that dad was active in his own life.
I want them to know that I didn’t sit around waiting for some things to happen. I made them happen because even though we don’t have control of many things we still have the ability to influence our world and to try to steer the ship.
Time will tell the story of how it all played out but if I have my way when I tell the tale it will be with a smile because I’ll have earned it.
Time keeps marching on. Blog as chronicler.
Blog as chronicler is right. Shana Tova.
I recall watching a movie once (the name escapes me, sorry) where a very old man was talking to a young reporter, and telling the story of his life.
The reporter was furiously taking notes (this was a black and white classic, before voice recorders), and nodding in amazement at each decade the elderly gent recalled. Then something the old man said stopped the reporter in his tracks:
“Don’t get old, son. At least, not too old. People say I must be lucky to have lived so long, and seen the things I’ve seen. And I guess I am. But I’ve also seen everyone I ever care about die. I’ve seen my one true love wither and die. I don’t have friends outside a cemetery, and I have no-one that will attend my funeral when I die. So, tell me – do you think I’m lucky?”
That’s stuck with me ever since I saw that scene (and, damn, I REALLY wish I could remember its name!), and comes back to me often as I approach my own twilight years. Yes, I want to be around to see my kids grow and find their own happiness – but is there much left for me after that?
I don’t know. Perhaps I don’t want to.
Good stuff, mate.
I think I have seen something similar, if not the same movie. Heck I am sure I have because this is a topic we all face, time doesn’t care about money, race or creed.
It is hard for me to predict how or what I will do/feel if I live long enough to have the kind of experience the old man talks about.
But I suppose it is a decent reminder to work hard to live the kind of life where whenever we slip away we’ll do so feeling like we did as much as we could do with what we had.
Amen to that, mate.