Posts Tagged ‘death’

When your parents go, you’re next

January 4, 2013

We feel many things when we lose our parents.

Of course, we have the typical grieving experiences, such as we may think about all the experiences we had with our parents and we know we’ll never have them again.

But also, since they were our parents, as their children, we may miss the parental figures that have been “above” us, ahead of us on the path of life.

We now feel the buck stops with us. There is no one to answer to anymore. We’re the ones at the top.

If we’re in your 40’s or maybe 50’s when you lose your parents, we may not notice another feeling – “I’m next!”

If our parents were, say, 30 years old when we were born, then we may have 30 more years left on our lease on life. The clock is ticking.

This conversation raises the whole issue of confronting our own mortality.

In the first half of our life – however many years that is – we may generally think we have our whole lives ahead of us – more time ahead than behind us. Plenty of times to accomplish all the goals we’ve created for our lives. Plenty of time to make all money we thought we’d make. Plenty of time to find that real love of our life. Plenty of time to reach the heights of success we’ve wanted to have. Plenty of time to try that new career. Plenty of time to have those children, write that book, be nicer our loved ones, plant that garden.

But we hit a certain age when we decide there may be less life ahead of us than behind us. What a sobering spot.

It seems the pendulum comes to rest for a moment in the middle of life when you’re right on the cusp, but then all of a sudden you realize you’re going down the other side. Perhaps it’s like a hill you’ve been climbing, now you’ve crested it, and before you know it, you begin sliding down the far side, and – alarmingly – at a seemingly increasing rate.

What a sobering time.

I’m next!

They’re Dropping Like Flies

July 19, 2009

I don’t know whether it’s just because I’m paying more attention to the news than ever before (which is true), or if it’s true that celebrities are dying in record numbers right now. It seems the names of many household names (at least in my household) when I was growing up are now passing. It really came to a head that one week in June which saw the passing of Ed McMahon, Karl Malden, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson all in one 9-day period. Last week, Walter Cronkite died.

I put the following list together. It was hard work – I read through the list of everyone who died in 2009 from the IMDb – as I finish, I feel like I’ve just emerged from a morgue! Meanwhile, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was playing on iTunes. Oy!

Let’s see…

  • Rev. Sun Myung Moon (Jan. 11) – the Korean church lead who was famous when I was a kid in the 70’s for performing mass marriages
  • Ricardo Montalban (Jan. 14) – our beloved Mr. Rourke from Fantasy Island – also famous as Khan in Star Trek and a major character in the Planet of the Apes movies
  • John Updike (Jan. 27) – the famous American writer
  • James Whitmore (Feb. 6) – actor from the 50’s on
  • Blossom Dearie (Feb. 7) – famous jazz singer
  • Ron Silver (March 15) – actor from Rhoda in the 70’s and many well-known movies
  • Natasha Richardson (March 18) – ah, what can we say – I loved her in The Parent Trap, the movie that made Lindsay Lohan. Liam Neeson’s wife. Killed in a skiing accident.
  • Bea Arthur (April 26) – I hope you remember our beloved Maude from the 70’s, and if not, certainly you remember her as Dorothy from the Golden Girls. She was an icon of my youth.
  • Hans Holzer (April 25) – you may not remember this guy, but when I was a kid in the 70’s, Hans Holzer was writing all these incredibly wild books about his research into UFO’s and ghosts
  • Dom DeLuise (May 4) – every great Mel Brooks movie had Dom DeLuise. Too many to mention. One movies you might not have seen is 1980’s Fatso – try to catch it – Anne Bancroft directed and co-stars as the Italian mother that virtually creates an eating disorder in her son DeLuise.
  • Wayman Tisdale (May 15) – NFL pro from the 80’s and 90’s
  • David Carradine (June 3) – hugely famous for the Kung Fu television series, and then later for the Kill Bill movies
  • Ed McMahon (June 23) – Johnny Carson’s right-hand man on the Tonight Show, and Publisher’s Clearinghouse pusher
  • Farrah Fawcett (June 25) – a central figure of my childhood, one of Charlie’s original Angels
  • Michael Jackson (June 25) – the King of Pop
  • Gale Storm (June 27) – actress from the 50’s, played My Little Margie
  • Karl Malden (July 1) – I remember him from the original The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, but he was in countless movies over many decades
  • Steve McNair (July 4) – recent MVP NFL quarterback, apparently murdered by his mistress who the killed herself
  • Arturo Gatti (July 11) – Italian-Canadian boxer, apparently murdered by his wife. The athletes aren’t doing too well this year. And against the women – that’s a fascinating social commentary in itself.
  • Walter Cronkite (July 17) – everyone’s Uncle Walter

(I apologize if I have not mentioned someone close to you. These are just the people that I noticed during my visit to the 2009 morgue at IMDb.)

Gee, this has been uplifting! Death is certainly a difficult subject. For most of my life, I didn’t think much of it. Now that I admit it’s an eventual certainty for me, my wife, my entire family, all my friends, everyone I know, and everyone I’ve ever heard of, it seems like something I should get to know. Maybe even think of it as a friend with whom I have a date planned for some unknown time in the hopefully distant future.