Saturday, 8 August 2015

Getting Used to the Circle of Life

Spending time together while we can -some of the family

I've already become resigned to the trend that whenever we go away on holiday, someone becomes ill or dies. It's something I'm finding hard to assimilate though as simply a fact associated with getting older.  Gone are the days when all the pop stars I liked were young and healthy and all my loved ones were alive and well. Remember when we never ever thought about death other than on TV, when it stayed remote and unrelated on the national news?  This isn't going to be a sad post in any way, it's just me trying to be a grown-up.  I guess when both one's parents have passed away, that's the first thing: we are no-one's child any more. That's of course, if you have been lucky enough to have loving parents who have lived into their old age. I've been that privileged. Next, it can happen that your best friend dies of breast cancer or something.  Also, not happened to me. I can still cherish (by e-mail) the two best friends of my extreme youth - one in New Zealand and one in Australia. Yes, I can see that I am very lucky. When we were away, it occurred to us that we could pop in one one of my husband's friends - they had been apprentices together at South African Airways, 43 years ago, but had lost touch. We knew that he lived somewhere near and planned to phone his ex-wife, S,  to get his number. In the end, we never got round to it, time was too short and the days too packed. When I met up with S later in Jo'burg, she told me he had passed away the month before (a history of alcohol.)  Then we heard that the old family friend of my eldest sister-in-law, with whom she had spent a brief and innocent (she 75 and he 83) holiday five weeks prior - had passed away that week from pneumonia. Then we had tea with my dear friend, W, in Jo'burg: her elderly father-in-law was looking forward to chatting to my husband as they had once known each other at SA Airways. We had a lovely afternoon, the old gentleman immaculately dressed, independent as always, he still lived alone and unaided at age 92. He drove himself home - a distance of about 12 miles across town. That night he died as a result of a stroke after a fall in his kitchen in which he broke his hip. 
So we come and go.

5 comments:

  1. I read in a novel once an older gentleman lamenting that the elderly no longer accrue friends and loves but lose them. He said something to the effect that he had reached the age where things are taken away from him.

    Indeed we come and go, and perhaps a lucky few of us leave some mark on the world that we made a difference. Alas most of us are forgotten in several generations. Each of us have 8 great grand parents. How many people could write a four sentence biography about each one of their great grand parents?

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    1. Not me. I do cherish a photo of my grandfather with his 11 brothers though: they were all inventors, but I only know a little bit about him - none of the others. I know nothing of my mother's family.

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    2. Remember this? "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred in their graves ".

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  2. It can be a distressing time when friends and family start to pass. I have to say that your friend's dad had the right idea though--apparently alive and vital til the last minute.

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    1. Would that we could all go that way.

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