Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Last of a Generation

My grandmother's funeral is today. She died in her sleep early Saturday.

Do not offer me your condolences. We were never close. She was never nasty to me personally, but she had it in her and I'd seen glimpses of it. As an infant, I'm told, I would cry if she held me. If my brother were alive today, I wonder whether he would attend the funeral. I wonder whether one of my aunts will be missing from the service.

I don't really have any fond memories of her from my childhood. I have fond memories of being in her house or around the farm with my cousins. I can conjure up a smile when I think of how much she liked dogs, or how proud she looked wheeling around the nursing home with one of my twins on each knee.

What strikes me about this is what it represents on a different, symbolic level. All of my grandparents were living until I was in junior high. I lost another in high school. I lost my last great-grandmothers while I was in high school and college.* And in the last 14 months, now, since I've been 30, I lost my last two grandparents.

While I grew up with three generations ahead of me in the family tree, now there is only one. I don't know how to think about that. It makes me consider, for the thousandth time since December, my own mortality. Outside family, there is only one earthly thing to help with that thought.

*Actually, I don't know when the last of my great-grandparents died. If I ever wondered why my grandmother might have been something other than the nicest person, I could consider the fact that her mother was truly a terrible person, who wanted nothing to do with her own blood.

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