The Old Geezer

Events of the past few weeks and years have certainly brought a feeling of grief to a large part of the world’s population. We are all wired differently and how we handle these situations depends on our own experiences and knowledge of the situation. Probably the deepest feelings come from the loss of one of your family members or friends. Some people seem to do a better job of maintaining them selves and aiding others.

I remember the loss of my grandparents and then my own folks when family members came together and attempted to console one another while honoring those who have passed away. I don’t think they had invented the “Celebration of Life” phrase or affair in those days. It was mostly sorrow and regret for what we might have done to make it not happen.

I am sure that we all hold back a lot of our thoughts and feelings as we think of those we have lost. Some of our regrets will be with us for the rest of our lives. I had three brothers and the one closest to my age died when he was just 30 years old. My other two brothers have also passed away and it doesn’t seem right that the oldest of the four is still around.

Carrying the grief that I have just described did serve to steel me in facing other dire situations that I have faced during my lifetime. It also served to make me more aware of just how my actions may be affecting others. I remember schooling managers who worked for me to realize that their treatment of those who reported to them went much deeper than they might realize. Entire families relied on the income and leadership that our employee provided. Not only the money but the state of mind that they maintained to stabilize their life style and future.

I guess the best advice I can muster when someone is grieving would be to turn your mind around and try to think about the good times and good things that you shared with the deceased. Surely a lot easier to say than to do, but actually you are honoring someone and showing respect for all they stood for. Many years ago I attended a funeral for the father of the fellow I was working for. The church was not one that I knew much about, but they made a huge impression on me as I observed them talking about the deceased and what a good person he was. They were talking about how fortunate they were for having known him and what a good life he enjoyed right up to the end. They discussed the people they knew who had been helped and maybe even saved by this person who always took time to listen and advise those who came to him with problems.

My mother had pretty much a stock statement that she made whenever advised that someone had died. “Well now they are in heaven and at least they should know that all their bills are paid!”

One of the disadvantages for those of us who have reached very long years of age is that we no longer have all those nice people and loved ones to share our memories. My sweet wife is slipping into dementia and while caring for her is tough I just have to say that I miss all those things that we have done together and most of the memories we shared are now just mine. She can’t remember much of what is happening now, but occasionally comes up with a name of someone we once knew and with some urging does remember them.

We raised some wonderful children and along with their families we have some good times together. They are our main source of assistance these days.

It hasn’t all been perfect and we have lived through some tragedies, but we managed to help some people along the way. She is still my sweetheart and what a wonderful trip it has been. She won’t be reading this, but I tell her many times every day how much I love her and she tells me the same thing. We are pretty fortunate even in the face of grief now and then to make this wonderful trip called life!