I've just turned 55 this past birthday and in the past few months, I've discovered that some of my exes have passed away already. One of them was the father of my first daughter. Another, was the first man I ever loved in a grown-up, fascinated kind of way. Learning of both of these deaths threw me into remembering things I hadn't thought of in years and one of the things I thought about was a conversation with my Dad when he was in his early 60's.
He'd returned to his childhood home after many years away and wandered down to the little town's coffee shop where he met up with someone he'd known and sat to have coffee and catch up. After asking the other guy about where so and so was and hearing "gone" many times, he decided to take a wander through the town's cemetary. He phoned me after his walk because he was so very troubled that he found old friend after old friend already buried there. All these years later, I finally understand why he was so upset.
All those deaths had reminded him of his own immortality and forced him to think about the people who had touched his life. I am the same way as I now think about the impact of these 2 men on my own life. Having my first daughter at a very young age forever changed my direction. Since the circumstances that brought about that pregnancy were less than ideal, I had dispensed with the man who had forced himself on me, around the same time as my daughter was born. I spoke to him from time to time through the years but the back of my throat always carried the feeling of revulsion I carried about him. He'd gone on to create 4 lives and in reading his obituary, I couldn't help but notice that his first daughter was not listed as those "surviving him" even though she had reunited with him many years before. I guess this was her step-mother's denial at work but it reminded me of the times when my daughter spoke about how close she'd become to her step-mother.
The death of my first woman's love jarred me for several weeks after first hearing that he is now gone. There were so many bittersweet memories that came flowing back with that news.
Unlike my father, I am not troubled by the reminder of my immortality but the difference between him and I is that I believe in a hereafter. That isn't to say that I don't think about it but it doesn't cause me the distress it caused him.
It isn't until we are starting to get "up there" that we start to realize how little value some of the things we placed so much importance on way back when, really have in this life. All the things that our aging parents were saying all of a sudden, take on meaning that we previously dismissed. It is with no small measure of sadness that we are reminded of the times when we didn't get along with somebody who is now gone and that also goes into the bag of rocks we each carry.
If you have had a similar experience or even if you would just like to comment, I welcome your thoughts and just thought I would share some of my own with you during one of my nights when sleep, just doesn't come quite so easily...