Robert Reich, a man I deeply admire and respect, posted this this morning:
"Saying goodbye to my father felt especially poignant this time. He’d been looking forward to his 100th birthday party, wondering for years if he'd actually make it. The party was a big success: The entire family turned up, many old friends, even his doctor. And Dad danced -- not just once but several times, each time with a big grin on his face. But leaving him last night was especially hard. “When will I see you next?” he asked, puzzled and sad. “Soon!” I said. “But the party’s over,” he said, in a way that seemed far too definitive. I’m thankful we had a chance to celebrate his life when he could still be part of the celebration."
Now in my eightieth year, I know what was behind his father's question and his statement that the party was over. He realizes, as do I, that time is limited and the future is oh so tenuous.
I didn't get to see my own father and mother anywhere near enough in their final years, as the inevitable end crept nearer and nearer. Those were pre-internet and pre-Facebook years. Things are quite different now, and getting even more so with the passage of time.
My children tell me how much they enjoy what I write about what I'm thinking and doing. Time, distance and financial constraints limit face to face interaction, but I can still keep them and others who may be interested up-to-date with much of what transpires in my daily life, and they can do the same. It isn't quite the same as face-to-face, but it's certainly better than what used to be.
Robert will soon be in the same position as his father. It's inevitable, and it"s bittersweet. There's no escaping reality.