Friday, August 3, 2012

Live Long * Love Well

My parents attended my Dad’s 55 year high school reunion this evening.  When they returned home, my mom showed me a long list of names spelled out in the event program.  There were nearly 100 names listed and I thought she was going to tell me they are the names of the people who attended the reunion.  Instead, she informed me they are the names of everyone who has already passed away from Dad’s graduation class.  I was shocked.

My Dad graduated with about 500 other students from DeVilbiss High School in 1957 in Toledo, Ohio.  He and the others who are still alive are now 73 years old, but 20%, a fifth of his class has already passed away. 
I hold a very strong conviction that people shouldn’t die until after the age of 87, and I don’t think my parents shouldn’t be allowed to die until after the age of 97.  Both of my Grandpas died at the age of 80, one to cancer and one to suicide.  And my dad’s mom died at the age of 42, when he was only 12, and my mom’s mom died at the age of 72, when my mom was pregnant with my older brother.  So I never had the opportunity to meet either of my grandmothers.

My dad argues he supposed to live to be at least 125 years old.  That’s how old Moses lived to be, and my Dad insists it is supposed to be better under the New Test Covenant. 
I’ve been home for over 3 weeks now, and every week thus far, my parents’ have received a call, notifying them that so and so has passed away, and that the visitation and funeral will be held in a few days.  I suppose you could say I’ve been overly exposed to death the past few weeks and I don’t like it. 

People who live in LA and New York don’t believe in death.  If you’re nearing it or know someone who is, you leave these two cities.  We like to pretend death is not part of our world – and for the most part, it isn’t.  But it is a part of the greater world in which we live.  Funerals are “good” for us, because they cause us to pause from our ambitions, and to consider who we are, who we spend our time with, and what really matters in life. 
A few minutes ago, my Dad interrupted my writing to show me pictures of his mom I had never seen before.  She appears to be relatively tall standing beside my Grandpa Cec. I’d imagine I got my height from her – 5’8”   And I wonder if she ran into troubles wearing high heels on any the dates she went on.

I’m sad I never had the opportunity to get to meet her here on earth, yet I’m thankful for the opportunity I'll have to get to know her in heaven.

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