It seems that we’ve gone to a lot more funerals and memorial services and sent more sympathy cards in the past several months than we had in several years. I guess that’s a sign of our times. As much as we may think we are still 35, we aren’t. We are losing friends and relatives at an increasing rate.
This week, my brother-in-law’s brother passed away and it seemed to catch me off guard. It is never easy to lose a parent, but it is more to be expected. Few friends of our age still have their parents living. Yet losing a sibling is another matter. It means that ours is the generation now for whom time is running out and death can be “expected.” We have become the ones about whom we say “They have lived a full life.”
Yet in some ways it makes me feel the same emotions I did at 29 when my first child was ready to begin kindergarten. I wondered if I had instilled right values in him, done everything I should have to prepare him for that time. Was I ready to let go of whatever control I had in his life and let someone else become the accepted authority in many of his hours? “Teacher said” seemed like an ominous phrase.
Today I wonder, have I instilled right values and done everything I should to prepare my children and grandchildren for the time when I am gone? When my mother passed away, one of my nephews asked, “Who will pray for us now?” My sisters and I have stepped into that role for our own families and prayed for each of them.
And now I’m wondering again. I guess it isn’t a matter of letting go of control. I lost that long ago, if indeed I ever had any. Now I just need to be sure that the next generation is equal to the task when it is their turn.