In our sophisticated America in our sophisticated 21st C, there are still two things we aren’t allowed to be: Fat and dead….!
While we’re willing to trash fat, we avoid talking death. Mesmerized by our many modern medical miracles, today’ generations shun most thoughts of death. After all, we’ve got all these vitamins, prescriptions and health clubs to keep the gray ghost at bay. And yet, chances are the longer we stay alive, the more likely we’ll have to say goodbye to our parents.
The question then becomes: Who am I now that my parents are gone?
Typical of our busy busy lives, we usually don’t think about that question. I mean, Mom & Dad have always been, gee, always around. I don’t think grim…I don’t waste time reflecting on their not being there..I don’t see anything good coming from anything that bad. But chances are for 78% of us, one of our parent will die; for 48% both will die.
For some these deaths will be freeing. For most it will be an unexpected struggle to now figure out a self-identity no longer seen through the prism of parental love. They have been the one constant in your changing life. The largest repository of the memories that make up your history. Parental death is the single most common cause of bereavement in the country. Nearly 12 million of us or 5% of the population lose a parent each year.
Losing one parent is a profound trauma. Losing the second now means you are an orphan. A hole in your soul neither tears nor time can completely fill. An epiphany to your own mortality. A first step along the path to your final steps. The evolutionist will shrug: “Everything since the Big Bang is born to die.” The religionist will add: “The death of our parents is the end of one life and the dawn of the next.”
Take your choice, only it will never be your choice as to exactly when.
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