Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Passing Has Commenced

In December comes the task of writing the Christmas letter; it’s meant to help those people who are not in frequent touch keep track of our general status; the letter therefore is sent with some of our Christmas cards. Reading last year’s letter, I noted that 2018 ended with Rex Turner, my sister Susie’s husband, passing from our midst; Rex was the first of our generation to say farewell. In preparing the 2019 letter, I noted that this year’s early events circled around my brother Baldy. He was brought down by dementia at the time, roughly, of Rex’s death. Then Baldy deteriorated rapidly; he died early in 2019.

Age colors one’s own reaction. Rex was older; I expected him to leave before me; but Baldy was our “little” brother—and in every way, I think, healthier and more energetic than I am. So a kid brother passes before his creaking elder.

I note this here in passing, almost. The end days are not really in any sense a public matter. Others of our age, of course, will know what I am saying and can rest in the knowledge that the strange feelings of lifting a hand in farewell to someone you’ve lived with all your life is odd, to say the least. And the desire to see him or her again, soon (Auf Wiedersehen, as the Germans put it) is a quite perceptible feeling.

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