I am getting some white in my beard. My temples are turning a little gray. I am not old and I do not feel old, but some of the people around me are getting there. Some are losing the battle with mortality. Yesterday, I found out that an old family friend died. He had been omnipresent in my childhood. Always over at our house to visit my parents. He was strange, but in the end, a pretty interesting and good guy. He was one of my dad’s friends from high school. Only a few months older than Dad.
I was seven when my grandfather died. I was scared, so I didn’t go to the funeral. My grandfather is why I care about baseball. I loved my grandfather and even now, 27 years later, I still remember how much he loved me. I can still remember playing on the floor in the living room of the big, old house he shared with my grandmother.
Like anyone else, I’m self-interested. Until recently, I only thought about his death in terms of how it affected me, but about a month or so ago I realized that I am older now than my dad was when my grandfather – his father – died. I realized that my daughter is nearly the same age I was when that happened.
The people in my family have a stubborn history of not taking care of themselves and not going to the doctor. It’s taken him a long time, but Dad has generally reversed the trend. He goes to the doctor and generally does what the doctor tells him to do. I don’t think he’s going anywhere any time soon. But he could.
I’m not ready for that. I’m not even remotely ready for that. I know my children aren’t ready for that. They love their grandparents. But time is getting on, now. My dad lost a sister not long ago. School friends are going. Then generation before me is passing. But I hope I don’t have to think about that for a while. I hope my daughter sees my dad and all her grandparents at her high school graduation. I hope she doesn’t have to miss someone and wonder what it would have been like when she got old enough to really know them.