It’s a question that I’ve asked myself most of my life. I’m the youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son. So, I was kind of born into a life where Death visits frequently. Compounding the situation is that the generations tend to get spread out in my family. My parents were in their 40s when I was born. My oldest brother took a day off work to come and got Mom & I from the hospital, because my Dad had been hurt in an accident at work and couldn’t drive.
There’s nineteen years between my oldest brother, Lee, and me. Conversely, there’s
26 27 years between my oldest son’s birthday and his youngest brother’s. (Thanks for the math assistance Jen! =:) )
I never met either of my grandmothers, and only have fleeting memories of my grandfathers. When my grandfathers passed, there were a few years of respite. Then, I started losing uncles & aunts. I’ve also lost cousins and nephews & a niece.
You’d think – by now – that losing people I love would be old-hat, right? Nope. Not even close. I’m considered by most to be a big & fairly burly guy, and, I’m still fit enough to drag myself up a steep hiking trail with a 50 lb. pack on my back (Granted: I take more rest breaks than I did at 45.), but I still have tears running down my face at funerals, and my family has learned to not let me try to speak at them. People tend to think you’ve extended the wake when you’re sobbing into a microphone.
I’m a Christian, so I know that I will see them all again. Yet, I’m totally unmanned when it comes to dealing with the death of people I care about.
John-O accompanied me to the memorial for an old friend and mentor this past weekend, and he asked me how you deal with the death of someone close to you? I had to be honest and tell him I never have figured that out . . .