Last One Standing

One of my uncles died yesterday. He had been married to my father’s sister, who passed away last year. I remember at my dad’s funeral, this aunt lamenting that she had none of her childhood family any more. I come from a large clan on both sides. My dad was one of five children and my mom one of nine. Now, of the siblings and their spouses in my dad’s family, my mother is the last one standing. That’s one of the drawbacks of living a very long life. You lose a lot of people along the way.

On my paternal side, it’s an entire generation gone. Yet another milestone where I realize I’m supposed to be a grown-up now, in a big way. In taking charge of my mom and her affairs, I failed to anticipate one significant responsibility. I’m the bearer of news, the one who sits with her over another loss. I never feel I’m competent enough for this and find myself thinking there must be some real adults around somewhere who could step in.

My mom still has six surviving brothers and sisters, including one older the she is. They’re hardy stock. I have a greater than average chance of making it to ninety. But I can’t think this without thinking of my aunt who was the last of her family of origin. She was the youngest by quite a bit and so am I. You never know what life will bring, of course. People don’t always die in chronological order. In fact, I wasn’t even accurate earlier in this paragraph when I said I’m the youngest. There was one sister who followed me by two years and never made it home from the hospital.

People always want to live a long time, but who really wants to be the last one standing? It’s a conundrum.

I don’t know if I have an end point to this blog post. I simply felt like sharing the ramblings of my mind. Maybe I won’t try to come up with some neat concluding sentence. I’ll let it be a little incoherent and messy, like life.