August 29

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Were she still alive, my mother would be 70 today. Sadly, she didn’t live to see 50, let alone 70. And this is how I know what “old” is. Or more, how I don’t.

Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve experienced and/or been aware of a lot of loss (the nice way of saying, “death”). My spouse lost both her step-father and her father. We lost our dog. A good friend lost her mom. Another a brother. People who have been “present” during my entire life, the most recent being Senator Kennedy, have passed. Walter Cronkite. Farrah Fawcett and Ricardo Montalbon (What would middle school years have been like without “Charlie’s Angels” and “Fantasy Island”?). John Updike. Michael Jackson (premature, but gone). John Hughes (the same).

There is a time in your life when, if you are following a “normal” trajectory, you don’t experience much death. People surely die, but you don’t really know them. Great uncles or old movie stars. You notice that others are sad, but you’re not really sad. You don’t really have need to be. Death is still far away.

But then there comes the time when passings become a step closer to home. Grandparents and parents; the grandparents and parents of friends or co-workers. We get older and thus, by definition, so do those we have closer relationships with. Some may ask, “Why is all the death all around us?”. To me, this is why. We’re older. And with age comes passing.

Still thinking of perspective – a lingering thought from yesterday. Thinking about the “normal” trajectory of life. Thinking about how when experiences come out of the normal range, they can throw off your sense of normal. I couldn’t help but think, when my father-in-law died suddenly last year, I have been here before. I have done this before. A long time ago. It was new for my spouse, but for me all too familiar.

Yet I hardly feel old. Death visited me early in life. Perhaps this is why I have the response I have when I overhear people asking, “What is going on?” Nothing, really. Nothing out of the ordinary, anyway. From my perspective.

Gee… what a grim little posting for a Saturday morning. Just random thoughts. The daily muse.

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