Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Man

This afternoon, I have a funeral to attend, a milestone of sorts. A sad one: the last of my father's siblings passed away last week, a younger brother.

Even as it happens, it's difficult to imagine, the last one gone -- there were ten children in his generation; three I never knew, who died young, but the others I can remember as well as if they were right here. They're not; memory is all that's left. The house they grew up in is a vacant lot. Last time I was by, the little commercial building their father had built still stood, as do most of their nearby houses, the homes I remember from my childhood; but there's no one I know in any of them. It was a little neighborhood of relatives all within walking distance for a short, sparkling while, but Time's arrow flies inexorably onward and all we are left with is what we can carry in our minds.

Update: Yes, it was wrenching. In keeping with recent custom, there were plenty of photos of the deceased, many of them with my late father standing right next to him.

As the service neared conclusion, a fellow slipped in behind me, whispered, "There will be a little breeze," and opened the window. This was not a mystery for long, as the preacher informed us there would be "military honors." I'd seen the honor guard outside when I arrived (late; work had me on the phone). Rifle salute, followed by taps, right there in a parking lot along the main highway through an Indianapolis bedroom community -- I do love this state.

My (little -- 6' 5" is little, right?) brother looks more like Dad every time I see him; he doesn't have the thick, jet-black hair but he has sure got the bone structure. And that's a good thing. His son resembles him, which is even better. We come and go -- genes linger.

15 comments:

Jay T said...

My condolences.

reflectoscope said...

I'm sorry to hear it, Roberta.

Jim

Turk Turon said...

So sorry to hear about this.

Jeffro said...

I hear you. My condolences, Roberta.

Joe Huffman said...

I remember when all of Barb's father's siblings were gone. The last three went in the span of about a year.

And we were talking just the other day about her mother's siblings almost all being gone.

I remember when all of my grandparents siblings were gone.

Every time I go to the Boomershoot site I think about the house and farm buildings that were there when I was a child. That 40 acre piece of land was given to my grandmother and her two sisters by my great grandfather. The buildings are all gone but every year daffodils come up near the shooters line. My grandmother and her sisters probably planted them 90 years ago.

Very sobering thoughts.

Paul said...

Always tough passing on the earlier generation. My condolences.

BobG said...

My condolences. I've been to a lot of family funerals, and they never get any easier.

Crucis said...

I'm fortunate that I have one (of five) aunts left. She's 98 and still going strong. She and I are the only ones left of the family. My half-sister was 15 years older than I. My brother in law has been gone for some time and she joined him last year.

I tried to find some photos last summer and discovered they'd been lost in some past move.

Anonymous said...

My condolences, Roberta.

My dad is the last of his generation. The youngest of 5; the others dead and gone. As best we know, he hasn't even a single cousin remaining alive. He truly is the last one. A WW2 vet, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; a truly good man. Not a great man, just a damn good one.

I have but one uncle left alive and two aunts, out of the two dozen I had when born. Death blows, but it seems to be a part of life we can't avoid.

Jon B.

rickn8or said...

My condolences, Roberta.
I have one 80 year-old aunt remaining, and the cousins have scattered to the four winds.

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

My condolences, Roberta.

I felt much the same what six years ago, when we buried my father's sister, who was the last one of that generation on my father's side. She was the last link to the "came over on the boat" generation.

og said...

Sorry for your loss, and hope it's the last for a very long time.

My uncle looked enough like my father that when we buried my uncle it was like burying my father yet again. Tough day. You have my sincerest condolences.

Hat Trick said...

My condolences, Roberta

Justthisguy said...

I send my most earnest heartfelt condolences, Ma'am.
I am proceeding outdoors now to spill libation.p

Justthisguy said...

Ignore the "p" at the end of my previous comment.