Old Man Death

He’s been walking around rather close lately. Recently a dear friend and one-time neighbor of mine lost her husband, and then we got news that my husband’s father has died, having battled long and hard with diabetes and liver troubles. The truly sad thing about that news is that we had no clue he was in such bad health. It wouldn’t be so bad a few years ago but now that we have internet, not receiving news is nearly a crime. I have one email address for my husband’s family and I have sent things there from time to time. My family frequently shares around some of the cute emails I’m sure we all get at times, and as soon as I had my brother-in-law’s email, I included him these emails. It is a way of staying in touch without writing letters all the time. At least you know the person you get these messages from is alive and that’s important to me anyway. A short time after I started this, he sent me a message asking me to stop, stating he was constantly having issues with viruses, as if I would ever send along something with a virus in it, but all right, if that’s the way he wanted it, so be it – end of hearing from my in-laws. Hmmm

My daughter-in-law is looking into the history of the family. My niece is doing the same thing, so there is some information about my side of the family but in her efforts to find information on my husband’s side of the family, she has been rather stumped. However, she has in the past called my mother-in-law in the hopes of gleaning some information. I guess they were much more comfortable with a phone number than an email address because it was through my daughter-in-law that we got the news of my father-in-law’s death. But even over the phone, there was no information. It wasn’t until I sent an email, hoping it still worked, that we learned about the health issues, information which I shared with my two boys since they were both quite concerned.

To further the sadness of this issue, my daughter-in-law dug a little deeper. She found an online obituary for my father-in-law that allowed people to post their thoughts and memories about the man. No one had posted a thing. I couldn’t. I’d only met him once. I didn’t know him. What am I supposed to write. ‘He was a nice man’? That sounds so two-dimensional – so weak. As I understand it, he had a care taker near the end, and for the last weeks/months he had moved into her home so she could watch him closer. Not even she had commented. That tells me that either no one knew of this site (possible) or no one knew what to say about the man. Sad – to go, and have touched no one. My husband hasn’t even called his mother. He doesn’t know what to say either. What do you say to someone who has been a stranger for more than thirty years?

Old Man Death visits us all. We all know it and we all struggle against it. It’s what we do. I feel my father-in-law struggled too, and with pride. He refused to go to an old folks home. A decision I take my hat off to him about, but I certainly hope I manage to touch a few more people, and not just because of my books.

As I said, Death comes to us all. Touch someone, before you lose the chance.

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Published in: on April 14, 2012 at 7:47 PM  Comments (4)