Just received word that one of Dad G.'s old friends had passed away. He'd been sick for a while, and it wasn't unexpected by any means, but when someone you've known for nearly 50 years passes on, it leaves a mark. Right now Dad's busy making arrangements (the friend was a fellow retired MA state cop), and I'm concerned about what happens after all the busy stuff is over.
It brings home the different stages we go through in our lives. In your teens and 20s, you mainly deal with death either from accident or other tragic circumstances - which is rare - or with grandparents or great-grandparents. Losing a friend, while not necessarily uncommon, is shocking to you, of course, but it doesn't engender much reflection upon one's own mortality. In one's teens and early 20s, it's nigh impossible to conceive of your own life's finish.
We progress from that stage to the stage where it's our parents' generation that are succumbing to the ravages of time. Certainly, some go far too soon - I had a good friend who lost his dad his freshman year of college. That's unusual, but it does happen. More often than not, though, we're getting into middle age when people of our parents' generation start passing on. While we might stop for a moment to think of mortality, it's more along the lines of "What are we going to do when it happens to Mom/Dad" rather than "that could be me."
And then, like my dad is finding out, you hit that point in your life when its your own friends that are passing away. Mortality hits you in the face like a gloved slap. Someone you've known your entire adult life is now gone; it's hard not to think of your own life expectancy when your peers are the ones showing up in the obituary page. Right now I'm trying to help Dad out; in a few years I'll be going through this myself, I'm sure.
One thing I've noticed with the internet/gun blogosphere, etc., though is that I've got friends ranging in age from early 20s to my parents' age. Our modern age of connectivity has the effect of introducing us to folks in our tribe that are outside our standard circle of friends and acquaintances. This is a good thing, in that it allows a huge range of perspective, but has a downside as well - a quick look at my sidebar reveals numerous bloggers that are no longer with us.
Sorry for the melancholy post today; guess it's just one of the side effects of getting up there in age...
That is all.