My father use to say he read the obituaries to make sure he wasn’t in them. Then one day, he was. Today, I find myself reading them quite regularly, not to reassure myself that I haven’t joined my dad, but to keep track of everyone else who has. My generation is at the age where our parents are shuffling off this mortal coil at almost alarming speed. This month alone has been fraught with departures and near misses.


First of all, my dearest friend Miriam is here from London to see about her father, who slipped and broke his hip. He’s a spry enough 79, so he might rally. My friend Michelle has been traveling to London (Ontario) almost every single GD day for months to visit her mother, who is in hospital. Last weekend our boss Julie Adam lost her mother after a long illness. Darren’s father, who had also been ill for a while, passed away. Then, at the grocery store, a neighbour of mine called out to me and told me her husband had just passed away. She broke down in tears. “How old was he?” I asked as I hugged her, knowing there was a significant age difference. “99” she responded. I had to bite my lip. But even if you know it’s coming, the pain is real.


In any case, I don’t want to depress you unduly. Death, as they say, is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. But it does get you to thinking about the mechanics of it all. For example, John plays hockey every week. He’s in good shape, but you hear about these middle aged warriors who only get their heart rate up once a week on Tuesdays, and then it’s game over. This is why I get mildly annoyed with him every time he reminds me that it’s hockey night. He thinks it’s because I don’t want to be the one to do the dishes.


It’s the same with the drive to the cottage. Our schedules don’t often allow us to travel there together. In fact, the kids often come up separately, and if you factor in the aunts and cousins, we can have as many as 5 or 6 cars heading up and down the 400 on a summer weekend. It’s a long, occasionally sleepy drive, and there’s almost always an accident or two along the way – not us, not yet, knock on all the wood in the world, but I worry. This is why we all hug each each other and say “I love you” when we’re leaving the dock. People watching must think we’re all emotionally unstable.


But enough of these dark thoughts. Life, if you’re lucky, is plenty long, and you can’t live it in the basement with tin foil taped to the windows. Winter is over, and hope springs eternal. I too plan to live to 99, and break some hearts when I depart. And when I’m dead and gone, I hope it can be said … that all my sins were scarlet, and all my blogs were read.


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