Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Next Chapter

In 2017, I participated in a "cousins" family reunion on my father's side.   I don't know if there will be another one.  It gets harder and harder to fit things in.  And, sadly, one of my cousins (he couldn't make it) died later that year and the wife of another one (who did) died earlier this year.  We are at that age where people seem to get together mainly for weddings and funerals.  Especially funerals.

One memory of that reunion sticks in my mind.

After eating, we talked on the phone with our last living biological uncle, who is in his early 90's. His wife, who is younger, is our last aunt.  They live about 850 miles from us.

When asking him how he was doing, he said "not bad for an old man".

I flashed back to when I visited him as a teenager, when he was an energetic man in his 40's, raising three children (my youngest cousins).  Now, those young children are in their 50's.

Last week, Last Uncle celebrated his 95th birthday.  There was a party Saturday at his church.  His children (only one lives locally, and another lives overseas, but they all came) and grandchildren attended.  What a wonderful occasion.

One of my cousins texted me to tell me she was sending me some pictures of Uncle's birthday party.  But then there was some additional news she needed to pass along.  One of the cousins at the reunion had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  She already has health issues that cause her a great deal of pain.  Now, this.  She will have surgery sometime in December.

I can't help but think of the cancer that has hit my family (it's not what my cousin has) three times:  pancreatic cancer.  Twice on my father's side and once on my mother's side.

We are blessed, we who are alive and in good health.  I ponder this almost every day now, even as I watch someone on my floor at work battle cancer, and think of a former co worker on another floor who faced her own cancer battle earlier this year.  I have a feeling that the universe isn't just sending me a message, but, rather, screaming it.  It's about time I paid attention.

I was taught that we inherited an imperfect world and we are charged with leaving it better than it was when we arrived on Earth.  I can't say that my still working full time as I near age 67 is a bad thing, but I am feeling it is time to turn my talents to something new.

I just don't know what that is.  And I never realized you could still have "midlife" crises this late in life.  Why is it so hard for me to make this decision?

One day, I can only hope, my spouse and I will be saying "not bad for an old man" or "not bad for an old woman" to the children of the next generation, my future first cousins once removed. 

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. 


  1. you're at a crossroads, with a lot of things happening all around you. You want to feel confident in your decision. it's perfectly understandable.

  2. The answer will appear when you least expect it, and you might not recognize it at first. You may have already been told, but you might not have "heard" it, or you might be resisting it. But when you're ready, it'll be like it couldn't have been anything else.

  3. Alana, What a moving post. Yes, the wheel keeps turning for all of us. Sometimes its as bewildering to be one of the healthy ones as one of the ones who aren't. We never know why things happen.

  4. My statement when asked how I am- Too dumb to know, too old to care...

  5. Excellent post. Liz A says it all.


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