Monday, March 28, 2005

The Great Change

We are at the cusp of the disappearance of the previous generation in our family. Well, the physical disappearance anyway. None of these people will ever be truly gone. My father died ten and a half years ago at the age of 77. His older brother lived on. He was born in 1916, and will be celebrating his 89th birthday in a couple of weeks. We just had Easter dinner with him. My mother was there as well, now 80 years old herself, and going strong. My uncle is not. The decline lately has been rapid. Just a year ago he was a bit crankier about being on time, but still witty and charming as ever, and full of conversation. He's a widely educated man, an Episcopal priest, with a degree from Harvard Divinity School. This particular holiday, it came out only in flashes. The smile is there, and the dapper Irish tweeds, and the handshake still firm, but the voice is weaker and up a couple of registers. The conversation was harder to get started just because he always did. Old habits die hard, so now we need to get it started and its tough for some reason.

In any case, this whole scene just started me thinking about the passing of the baton, so to speak. Our parents generation is disappearing slowly but surely. Now we are they, and are we up to it? How many gazillions of times has THAT question been asked? We are self sufficient but we aren't. I think back on the home my parents created for my brother and I, and I still wonder just how they managed it. I feel utterly incapable of doing it as well. At some point, confidence will take over, and I'll worry no longer. Right now, I am scratching my head with a furrowed brow and and muttering, "Oh brother...."


Blogger Don said...

I guess my wife and I are fortunate: We have much lower standards to live up to. :) Anyway no one but yourself makes the comparison.

Being a parent is a lifelong regret of what you didn't get right with a few sparkling victories along the way. Just a few -- but boy are they bright.

I'd like to see your mom again. How do I manage that?

BTW we will be at UCB the night of 4/9.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Axinar said...

Yes, when my cousin had a baby a little over a year ago I could tell the generations had "rolled over". For instance my aunt and uncle, who my grandmother used to call "the kids", where now grandparents themselves.

Of course two of my grandmothers are still alive ...

5:56 PM  

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