Attending wakes, memorials and funerals are becoming a common activity. I haven't gotten complacent as yet but I see complacency around the bend. There was a time when I wouldn't 't go to funerals out of squeamishness. I was very young and very dramatic. Now I realize that was selfish of me. Showing up at wakes and funerals is an act of kindness toward the surviving loved ones. I now know from experience as a surviving loved one that the more that attend the merrier. Well, not merrier exactly but it is a certain kind of happiness to see big numbers at the funeral of your parent, spouse or sibling AND it is comforting. We need to hear "At least he didn't suffer" and "She looks good - they did a good job" and "Well, he is at peace - no more pain" and "She's looking down at us and smiling"
Clichés' abound and so what. It is all meant well and the grief is shared in all varying degrees from "what a shame - tsk tsk" to "Oh my God!" - wails and whimpers - all necessary all inevitable.
It is unavoidable these frequent events. As we age death lurks everywhere. Our contemporaries and those senior to us become the "at risk" community. I think it outrageously unfair how life works. As we gain wisdom and a true appreciation for this gift of life our time for such appreciation diminishes. We don't quite see that light we are supposed to walk toward but we do see our mortality - not as comforting as that light we are always hearing about.
But what can be done about this gross unfairness - this illogical last phase of life?
So, some of us go to the gym religiously. We diet - eat healthy - lots of broccoli and blueberries - multi-vitamins - positive thinking - anything to delay seeing that damn light.
Some of us pray.
Some get religion. Now the rotten bastards want to play saint. They drop their sense of humor and proclaim they are born again. Everyone is a sinner and they are pure. After all, don't they attend church every Sunday. Don't they pity the poor. Don't they now know Jesus. Don't they condemn all who are not like them. "Isn't that dress cut too low" "He drinks, you know." "She's such a slut." He's a homo." Surely they will be welcomed into eternal grace - so they think.
Yes. as we get old some of us panic as our friends and family leave us. Is it just a matter of time for us? Are all these wakes and funerals paving the way - our way toward that light we keep hearing about?
Many say "Just don't think about it."
Well. I don't think about it until somewhere in my week - week after week - I am confronted with another loss. Whether it be a personal loss or that other loss - celebrities, actors etc. that we grew up with - loving their songs, movies, books - this is a reminder that our world - our particular generation and all its bells and whistles is winding down to a memory - a footnote for the present up and comers.
I don't like it.
But there's nothing I can do about............
I just won't think about it.