There were a lot of weddings way back when.
Then there were a flurry of baby showers.
Now there are far too many funerals.
I understand that this is entirely a byproduct of my travels through what Prince once referred to as "this thing called life." The scenery has not changed as much as what I notice.
A trusted friend and dedicated follower of this corner of Al Gore's Internet experienced the loss of a parent this past week. Her mother died, leaving her an orphan after her father passed more than twenty years earlier. The fact that her own son was home for a visit when the news came was some solace to be sure, but becoming a member of the parentless demographic never goes down easily.
Her mother lingered, and tested the bounds of hospice, sticking around longer than most anyone had predicted. Which gave the family a chance to circle the wagons, preparing for the worst. A number of times. This exercise was trying for obvious reasons, but also became an odd sense of comfort. Mom outlived Tom Petty. She outlasted David Bowie. And George Michael.
It was that last one that got us laughing when we shared a call after mom had passed. It was the inventory call that accompanies the end of a life. Perhaps it is a dubious activity to measure one's life by the number of celebrities that went to their final reward ahead of those we love. It's part of the bargaining and accounting of the event. The consolation of a life well lived is one thing, but sticking around planet Earth longer than half the Beatles shouldn't be discounted.
And the river of memories that come flooding back. I was reminded of sliding down the stairs at my friend's house when we were high school, and the molds we made of our faces in plates of chocolate mousse. Or the way we may have damaged her mom's microwave by loading it with marshmallows.
And then there was the way I could reach back a year to the death of my own mother, and the odd connection that I felt with the newest orphan. And the new topics of discussions available to us, like estate planning and drafting our own wills. In hopes of greasing the track to the next world for when that time comes.