Monday, September 7, 2009
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." Kahlil Gibran
A friend's father died this morning, on his birthday. A full circle.
In all the years I've know them, he and his wife have been inseparable. A very attractive elderly couple, they could be seen walking in their neighborhood and holding hands on occasion. I can't think of one without the other.
They shopped at a small grocery store in their neighborhood, and after they moved across town to the retirement center, I would run into them at the store on occasion. No matter that there was one of the stores a few blocks down from where they now lived, or that they weren't supposed to be doing much driving; they wanted to shop where they knew their way around. And when I would see them, they acted almost sheepish, like they'd been caught. But I understood the need to keep the familiars when so much change was taking place in their lives.
I thought of my father yesterday when I was taking in this latest rash of deaths. He's eighty-seven, and I can't imagine how it must be to watch death grow exponentially as part of your life. Now, for me, it's mostly the odd death of a friend and the more expected deaths of the older generation. But to see, week after week, the death of those one knew and those one loved?
So we live long and become a companion to death. Or we die young and miss all the goodbyes, but miss the living too. There's something to be said, though, for the increased awareness and sweetness of time we acquire as we watch life seep away or dash away in friends and family.
Good-bye, Mr. Hooper. And happy birthday.