A couple of months ago, my grandmother passed away at the age of 100. Yesterday Terry’s grandmother passed away after a brief illness at the age of 93. It’s a peculiar feeling, isn’t it, when someone who’s always been there, even if in another part of of the country, for your entire life is no longer there. You start saying things like “I should have made more of an effort” and “I wish I’d…” and “If only I’d…”
How do you? When that person has always been there your entire life…you kind of get to where…they’re always there. Even people who maybe you aren’t so close to, because of whatever reason, proximity, or whatever. It still feels kind of peculiar when they’re gone. And now….it’s that whole generation. No more grandparents left. Their siblings are all gone, too. That generation in both our families, the ones who lived through the Depression and The War and went from Horse-and-Buggy to walking on the moon and computers and everyone getting tattoos not just sailors. There’s no one left in our families, either one of them, who remembers all that stuff. I want to run out and find people that age and say QUICK! WRITE IT ALL DOWN BEFORE IT’S GONE!”
And before long, it will be the next generation, my parents and Terry’s, the ones who grew up in the 1950’s and wore bobby socks and poodle skirts and were young adults during the Civil Rights fights and protests, and were just old enough to have contempt for hippies and dealt with the interest rates during the Carter Administration and who’s retirement accounts benefitted from The Reagan Years and now they’re retired and making memories with our children, the grandchildren, who will eventually see them pass away and then it will be our turn to be The Old Ones.
Have you ever looked at what we have now, the internet and The Cloud and now 3-D printers and space stations and if you have enough money YOU,TOO can go into Space! Have you ever looked at all that and wondered how our grandchildren will look at that and think “How Old Fashioned! Microwave Ovens! CDs! Open heart surgery!” because in 30 years, when we’re old, all that will have been replaced with something NEW and BETTER and LESS INVASIVE.
I know there are things that won’t be replaced. They’ll try, but no. There will still be homemade buttermilk custard pies, the same recipe my Great Aunt Martha used. Tomato sandwiches, with a sliced Brandywine still warm from the garden and a Nutritionally Frowned Upon slather of real mayonnaise will still be a favorite Summer afternoon snack, and real dogs will still bark at real irritated neighbors. Medical records might be implanted in our arms, but we’ll still catch colds from our grandchildren.
But for now, this day, there’s sadness. Not just at the loss of a real grandparent, the last one there is, but at the loss of that generation in our families. That’s it. All gone from this Earth.