My father is 90 years old. I had to tell him yesterday that his sister had died a short time ago. She was 8 years older than him and helped care for him as a baby and young boy, growing up in a family of 8 children.
I have often, lately, told him of the passing of his relatives and friends, and he takes it in stride, making a small comment and then appearing as though it did not matter. It has always been his way of dealing with serious issues. But this time he was taken aback, and after some time of silence, began to reminisce. He had already lost two siblings, one to Alzheimer's and one to cancer. I think it is beginning to hit home that he could be next. He is OK with dying, but nevertheless, it is sobering to think that so many of those around you are passing away.
I was at a memorial service on Friday for a friend's mother. As I learned so much about her through the wonderful tributes that her family gave her, I thought of those ancient trees in Utah that remained standing long after life has left them. They stood crooked and gnarled, yet had a beauty in their grain and weathered knots that gave testament to a life well lived and having served a purpose. One may not seem to be useful in the latter stages of old age, but it is the legacy, the example, and the attitude that remains that is what inspires and encourages those around them. With a sound mind, everyone can stay connected with some effort, and it is that connection that lives on in the children and grandchildren. This lady left behind a legacy of faith, prayer, hard work, determination, and perseverance. She was a vital part of her family until the last day.
She was 103!