(I’m turning 50 at the end of this year. So for the next 12 months, I’m going to tackle different parts of what turning 50 means to me. Here’s entry number six. Find the series here.)
I managed to make it through the first 40 years of my life without having to attend a funeral. My luck ran out when my husband’s mom passed away from lung cancer in 2004. Since then, I’ve attended a few here and there. Both of my grandparents, who lived well in to their 90’s. A few people whose lives were taken much too soon by cancer and a horrible accident that ripped a wonderful neighbor from her family’s life.
I expect to be facing death more frequently in the next few years. It’s a fact of life. People don’t live forever. And we’re all getting older.
I find myself thinking about death more often. Death of my loved ones. Even my own demise. With the onset of new aches and pains, I worry. Worry that I won’t make it to see my kids get to certain milestones in their lives. Graduations, weddings, childbirth.
I come from a long line of healthy people. My paranoia isn’t grounded in reality. But I’m eating better and exercising. Doing what I can to age gracefully and in good health. I know that it doesn’t always happen that way. That life is not fair. That I can’t control the world around me. And that, yes, we’re going to age and people we love are going to die.
A beloved cousin passed away a few months ago at the age of 90. Truly a special person. And in the Jewish tradition, the funeral was set for two days later. I called my mother, who would also be attending the funeral, and told her that I had looked in my closet and had nothing to wear. (I live in South Florida and dress casually for work.) But with her on the phone, I pieced together an outfit that would be okay to wear to the synagogue and that would be respectful of my family.
Later that week, when we were talking about how beautiful the funeral was and how the eulogies were full of so much warmth and love, I mentioned to my mom that it was probably time for me to buy a funeral suit. Something to keep in my closet so that if, or when, I need to attend another funeral, I’ll be set. She agreed.
I haven’t bought my funeral suit yet. But it’s on my to-do list. I’m hoping that by buying one, I won’t have to wear it. At least, I hope I don’t have it wear it soon. Or very often.
But that’s life. Isn’t it?
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