The Chain

Last Sunday we had dinner at my parent’s house the way we usually do. These gatherings can be completely innocuous, or incredibly painful. Rarely is it somewhere in between. We’ve been doing these dinners for eons and I imagine they will go on until, well, ummm…. my parents die or go into assisted living or something. Nice thought, huh?

We used to go my grandmother’s house every Sunday back in the day. And by ‘go’, I mean ‘dragged by my parents’. The house was huge and cool, but my grandparents were not. It was never for dinner, thank g-d! Just an afternoon visit. Painful!

I like to think the Sunday visits with my folks, for my nieces and nephews, aren’t nearly as bad for them. They seem to have fun, but they have much cooler uncles and aunts then I/we had.

This last trip was this weird confluence of events. One of those times that makes me feel old and finally grown-up. I’ve been fighting the latter all my life, but sometimes you just can’t ignore the inevitable.

It started with my sister coming in with a boot on her foot. She had broken a bone in her foot and has no idea how she had done it. As she is about to turn 50 (!), she just said, ‘it sucks getting old’. I hear that.

Right about then, my father pulls me aside and wants to speak with me upstairs. Deep down I knew what it had to do with. This wasn’t the first of these conversations we have had over the last few years. He wanted to talk stocks and annuities. He was not giving me financial advice – just where they were and what I was to do with them upon his death.

You see, later this year, my father will be 89. And we’ve had these types of conversations before – me to be his power of attorney and control their living will. I also know how both my parents would like to be dealt with after death. We’ve never had the ‘executor’ conversation, but maybe it’s implied. I should probably check that out.

The funny (?) thing was earlier in the week, I was driving behind some traffic at 06:45. Someone holding up cars at this time of the morning?WTF! I get closer and who should it be? My mother! Yes, she is 80 and still works daily. Don’t ask.

Later I called to tell her if she keeps that up, I will be taking her car keys and license. I was joking, but told her – we’ll joke about it now, but know that one day we will have to have this conversation. Why sugarcoat it?

So since she didn’t know about my father’s and my conversation, we just came downstairs and I did not prep my dad for what I was about to say and just blurted out, “so it’s settled, we’ll put your wife in a home later this month?” He just nodded. Either he played along really well, or his selective hearing was in place.

One of my brothers-in-law had also dropped off some DVDs he converted from old home movies. Old being 16 yrs old. Not ancient, but still from a dead medium. They were of my oldest niece and nephew – the latter had just been born.

…and there I was, holding and playing with him at 8 weeks old (him, not me). I was just kissing his head and all that stuff and there he was, sitting next to me – watching this. It was a bit surreal. Let’s add to the fact that I brought him over some sport coats that no longer fit me, but did him – as he is now 16 and as tall as I am.

In the video I had hair and he did not. Now it is the other way around. Here I was in Florida on crutches due to my leg surgery – and now his mother was in a similar situation.

Birth. Death. Circle of life.

My father and I have an ok relationship and actually have no issue or weirdness talking about these things. My nephew and I have a great relationship and we just sat their silent not mentioning anything on the screen. I’d love to know what he’s thinking, but hell, he’s 16. I remember 16 – we didn’t talk about that shit.

I’m just sayin’.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

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2 responses to “The Chain

  1. I had that same conversation, about where “everything was” with my dad a couple of years ago right before he had his bypass surgery. Talk about a buzz kill.

  2. My father in law started having those conversations with my partner last summer…. over and over until he passed in October. And these family chains can be so wild, crazy, and intermixed. You gotta love family…if nothing more than entertainment value.

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