Dad was one of four brothers; Ira Jr., Charles, Roy (my dad), and Peary. We also have a close-knit extended family of great aunts and uncles, cousins, second cousins, and so on. We’ve always been very family oriented. But 2015 has been a rough year for us. We lost my dad in February, my aunt Maxine in September, and just last week we lost my uncle Linville.
On the same day that we lost Linville, my uncle Peary, who has had health issues for the last few years, fell and hit his head. As I understand it, he was conscious for a short while, but quickly became less coherent, eventually lapsing into a coma. He passed away at 2:30 yesterday morning.
Peary was the last of his generation of the Brackett Brothers still with us, and he will be greatly missed. And as rough as this year has been on the family, everyone who knew the “Brackett Boys” has invariably made the comment that there must be one hell of a party going on, with them all reunited again.
I know this is a rough time for those of us left behind, but I suppose that’s the way life goes. There’s a saying – none of us makes it out of here alive. I know that Dad and his brothers had all come to grips with this, with their own mortality long ago. They were all very religious men, each of them having served their faith in various ways, as ministers or elders of their churches. And while I don’t necessarily share their religious convictions, it brings me great comfort to know that they were content with their faith and their family.
I spoke to my mom this afternoon, and she mentioned part of a conversation she’d had earlier in the day with another family member. During that conversation, they realized that they were quickly becoming part of the “older generation” of the family. That’s been on my mind a lot lately. Not that they are entering that role, but more of a realization of our changing “roles” in life. We get older, and we begin to realize how our relationships to one another change. We go from being watched over as children, to watching over our own children. If we’re lucky, we get to see our children have children of their own.
But the immediacy of our relationships also changes. We begin to see less of our kids as they move on with their lives and become more independent. There is a mixture of pride and melancholy as we watch the younger generations take on the mantle of responsibility, while we are relegated to the role of observer and occasional adviser. And in learning this, I’m beginning to understand more of the lives that my parents have led.
Sorry, I didn’t necessarily mean to wander so far afield. I suppose this is a bit therapeutic, getting some of my jumbled thoughts onto the page… a catharsis of sorts. I know there aren’t all that many people who read this, so I still regard this as a “safe” method of release. Those few of you who do read my blog are either people who I regard as friends, or you’re doing so anonymously, and I suppose that’s still pretty safe.
Whoever you are, and whatever your reasons for reading this, let me impart the most important thing I’ve learned over these last several months. It’s not anything new, and doesn’t break any great paradigm. But it’s something that you (hopefully) begin to feel more and more as you get older.
So are you ready for me to impart the great words of wisdom? Here they are…
Hug your loved ones when you see them. Tell them that you love them.
Because you never know when it might be your last chance.
That’s it. Like I said, nothing really new. Nothing all that earth shattering. But it’s something I’ve begun to take more to heart lately. So do it. Hug your wife, husband, child, lover, or any other significant person in your life. Tell them that you love them.
All right, that’s enough for now. Until next week, stay safe.