August 2, 2009

Death's onward march

The news came with alarming rapidity. Three deaths in one week. Three people whose lives have intersected with mine, all taken in just the five days. Add these to the deaths in the past few months of others close to us, and I’m left numb, in shock, in awe of death’s finality.

First, the death of an aunt. At 92, Helen had lived a full life, and so while her death was not a tragedy it still leaves a big hole. Helen was the last of a generation on my father’s side of the family, and her death reminds me yet again, as if I needed a reminder, that I’m no longer part of the next generation.

Friday my brother-in-law, who had been ailing for several years, died. Donald had smoked, drunk and eaten too much when he was younger, and so his sixties were filled with illness and failing health. But 68 is still too young to die, not when your youngest grandchild is still unborn.