A few years ago (well 20 years now), there was a movie called Four Weddings and a Funeral. I didn’t see it and I don’t know what it’s even about, but this morning it occurs to me I have now attended Four Funerals and No Weddings in the last couple of years. That is just counting the funerals of children. There’s a season in your life when you’re attending your friends’ weddings. You’re looking at the promise of life coming up. People are having babies. Your whole life stretches out ahead of you. You know that season is going pass. When you get to my age, you expect that you’re going to start attending funerals. Our parents are aging. We are aging. The funerals are coming. The weddings I attend in the future will the weddings of Kayla, my nieces and nephews, my friends’ kids, the next generation.
OK. So I can deal with that. I can accept I’m in the second half of my life, Probably the last third or quarter. But two years ago I attended the funeral of Ty’s 16 year old cousin. I didn’t know him or his parents or his half brother who accidentally shot him. It was still one of the most sad things I have ever seen. A life cut short before he even began shaving. I had no idea what just two short years later would have in store for me. This year I had to plan the funeral of my 15 year old baby, just coming into her prime. I attended the funeral of Willy, an 11 year old. And I attended the funeral of Victoria, a 16 year old on Shayna’s volleyball team and the daughter of a good friend and neighbor. Four funerals that I never even imagined I would attend.
I wake up tired every day. Not physically tired. In spite of winter, I have pretty good physical energy. Working out regularly helps a lot. I’m tired of this world. I know I write about how it’s supposed to be a place of pain, a place of discomfort and learning. We plan these lessons. It’s all by design And sometimes I actually can internalize that and be at peace. Meditation, prayer and a lot of studying helps with that. It’s fleeting though. I tire of the pain. I tire of the stress. Just yesterday we found out about another financial set back. I’m just sick of dealing with it. I wake up each morning and my mind tells me it doesn’t want to be here. I literally think “I want to die.” Now, this is different from what many people say when they contemplate death. Death for me is not the end. I don’t want to end my life. I’m just ready for the next thing. It’s hard to want to hold onto this anymore. The suffering is too great. I’ve always known children can die, but not mine. Not Joan’s precious little girl. Not Dawn’s son before he even reached puberty. It’s just too hard for those of us left behind. If this isn’t hell, what is? When people talk about extending their physical lives here, I can only wonder “Why would anyone want to do that?”
Today I wake to the news David Bowie has passed at the age of 69. The people I grew up listening to and watching on television and in the movies are reaching their stage of transition. It’s a reminder to my generation of our impermanence. Watching people react is interesting as many of us Baby Boomers are in denial about our ages and our mortality. I embrace both. Bowie was one of the greats and the world will miss him. He has been quoted as saying “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” Lucky bastard. I can only imagine. Enjoy it, David.
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