I can see it in their faces every time I visit. When will it be their time? When will one of them die or become disabled? When will their lives change forever, and not for good?
The events of this week, and really, the last few years, underscore how cruel it can be for those given the gift of a long life. My parents have been given that gift.
Attending funeral after funeral and hearing about friend after friend being incapacitated by something out of their control can weigh heavily on ones mind. They talk about “good” deaths and “bad” deaths, hoping for the first and dreading the other.
I’m sure they feel like one of them may be the next ping pong ball to drop, with fewer in the basket to choose from each day. It’s inevitable, sort of like God’s lottery tapping anyone of age and telling them their life is over.
Conversations in my life tend to focus on my kids or work. My parents conversations sometimes tend to focus on who died, who used to be there, who will be next.
Luckily my folks have the stock market and sports and family, something to do everyday. And, they have each other.
Mom and Dad are invested in the market. They follow it like anyone would follow a football game. There are winners and losers. There’s something to track, something to do. My mother knows more about football than I do, and I think I know a little.
They do the best they can. They are optimistic. They stay active. They work at being relevant. They’re good at it.
But, this week was different. Like a child in the middle of the night, I could sense the fear, the not knowing, the being out of control, the loss of someone like them who was relevant, the stranding of another without her partner, the change of life, forever.