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Of Funerals and Family Reunions

October 17, 2013

My cousin Sylvia passed away this past Monday, and today was the day of the funeral.  It wasn’t sudden, she was seventy-three and had been ill for awhile, and by the time it came her passing was likely a relief.  I’ve always thought of Sylvia more as an aunt than a cousin, given she was nineteen years my senior — heck, she had a daughter older that I.  She was the daughter of my Mom’s oldest sister, hence the age gap.

I don’t really have a lot of stories to tell about Sylvia.  To be honest, I gave as much thought to Sylvia in general as I did for most of my aunts and uncles — that is, not a lot.  I’ve stories I could tell involving her son John and I, as we were about the same age.  The attack on a car (busted windshield and all), jumping the tracks in front of a train, free beer night at the local convenience store, and much more.  Probably a few involving his sister, Sherry, older than me but not by much.  But Sylvia was just another aunt (as I thought of her), always there trying (usually unsuccessfully) to keep us out of trouble, providing something to eat if at her house around mealtime, but mostly interacting with my mom and dad.  As I grew older, she remained one of the older generation, still Mom and Dad’s friend, but always glad to see me, always had a laugh, never short stinting you on a hug, and really enjoyed visiting with everybody.  A good lady, and she will be missed.

It was the right kind of weather for a funeral: rainy, gloomy skies, not a ray of sunshine to be found.  My brother, an associate pastor, officiated for the service and the central theme to his message was “family reunion.”  It is interesting that there are so many folks we grew up knowing, playing with as kids, visiting back and forth with over the years, and now only see during the family reunion of a funeral.  We need to find the time to get together for something other than a family member passing.

And, of course, with aging, the funerals become more frequent as the years go by.  And no disrespect to the departed, but it gets a tad depressing as you start do do the math every time a family member passes.  You know: died at 73, I’m 54, 19 years if I live as long.  The result of that equation used to be much higher, but the mean of the result gets smaller as the years roll on, and I realize again how precious every year, week, day is that we get to hang around.  Need to make the most of them, remember the important things in life, not sweat the small stuff, [insert tired cliche here].  Trite, yeah, but true.

You only get so many spins around the magic marble and once you cross fifty you tend to realize that more and more.  Any new (or old) activity/hobby I consider, I think whether this is a good thing to do with a percentage of my remaining time.  While I may not know how much is left, I do know it is finite.  Of course, I can make the call of whether to drop or reduce some of the personal activities, and decide whether fifteen hours of football watching per week, sixteen+ weeks per year is really the best I can do with that slice of remaining life.  It’s not, I’ve decided.  But I’ve little control of my time at work, yet often wonder what percentage of the remainder of my life did I just lose for the latest asinine meeting that gained the attendees next to nothing.  I don’t get to control it, but it sure grates on my nerves.

Well, this has been a depressing note.  On a slightly brighter note, went by the Oxford Bicycle Company with my son where he bought a Specialized Roubaix bike, though he had to order the frame he needed.  Should be in next week, so hopefully we can spend some time outdoors exercising, Tanya and I on the trikes and Zach on his new bike.  Much less depressing subject matter, and could help me cheat the mean mentioned above.  Hope so; don’t feel as if I have really started life.

Well, enough for now.  See ya, World.

Your friend,

Rick

From → Ramblings

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