October 13, 2006

Seasons Of Living

This is the first Christmas season without my mother and father and it has hit me hard. Granted, I am a middle-aged man with a family, and there are those who have suffered greater losses while much younger. Still, my children miss them very much, and their passing left a big hole in our lives. Also, not having parents leaves me at the top of the family tree along with my brothers and sisters. I’m too young for that, I think.

My nieces and nephews are either in college or getting ready to go. My daughter is in high school and we are already picking out universities from websites and catalogs. My son will be entering middle school next September, and I feel like life is sailing past me rapidly. I’m in my forties, sliding down the back end of the hill. There’s nothing but gray hair and an A.A.R.P. membership in my future. I’m not unhappy, but I have a vague sense that I lack accomplishment.

I keep telling myself that I exist solely to prepare my children for the future and create a better life for them. Everything I do, I do with them in mind. There’s a blissful movie which runs through my head each night before falling asleep, of my wife and I watching our kids graduating college, starting meaningful careers, getting married, and bringing their babies back home for visits. However, inside, I hear a voice, harkening back to my childhood, and it is agitated. The voice is me as a boy, and he does not realize that he is mature, older, and almost a half-century in age.

Perhaps we all have a similar, internal monologue which asks us if we’re emotionally equipped to move forward. Time does not stop because we need a breather. Yet, I can hush the voice with my keen grasp on reality. The compass I use to guide me through periods of such anxiety is my family. Each season reawakens dormant, and apprehensive sentiments which need to be dusted off and afforded attention. Much like the Christmas tree I pulled out of storage a few days ago along with boxes of accompanying lights and ornaments, my feelings will be dealt with anew, and they will settle down as I move forward and adhere to the happiness my family brings me during each holiday.

This year is the one which will be marked with me being at the helm of an older generation. I’ll miss my parents and others who have departed before them. Still, I cannot succumb to my inner child’s fear and allow myself even an instant of self pity or to wallow in remorse. After all, I have children who see me as a role model. One day they will lose me, and they need to know how to move on.


DataPlus - Custom Data Services said...

Hello Mr. Grudge,

I happened upon your blog from a comment on The Junk Drawer. So sorry for the loss of your parents. I appreciate and respect that you hold on and set a good example for the younger generation in dealing with loss and aging. I already have my AARP card and though my sons are now married, they continue to need a good example for the time when they will have loss and deal with aging. Besides, all times of life have opportunities for joy and sharing.

Michael J. Kannengieser said...

Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you that all times of life have opportunities for joy and sharing, and I continue to move along and be there for my family.

I really like The Junk Drawer and Kathy is very funny and interesting. Her blog is busy for a reason. Thanks again for reading my post. -Mike.

Peter said...

Hi! I'll be away over Christmas so I'm here early to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - Take Care - Peter

Michael J. Kannengieser said...

Hi peter,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

To you and your family, here's wishing happiness and good health!


Jenny said...

Happy New Year, MJK! All will be well. The fifties are FANTASTIC ... you'll see. There will be wonderful surprises!

StorytellERdoc said...

Great post...I lost my mother recently and her spiritual guidance is greatly missed. She was the glue that held us all tightly...Hope your season went okay.