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Moore’s Mind Musings

Mortality and Memories

Those of you who read this missive each week may have noticed I did not write a Musing the past two weekends. My Dad died on Saturday, June 26, and so I went up to Connecticut to clean out his house, readying it for sale, and to his funeral. That took about 10 days.

Dad was 94 when he died. A long run. We should all be so lucky. But the last few years of his life were more or less miserable. My Mother’s death in February 2018 broke him, and he could not find any good reason to live after that. His health declined, his mental state did too, and he became a less than desirable person to be around, to say the least.

My brother, David, who lives 5 miles from my Dad’s home, went to see him every day, bought all his groceries, paid all his bills, and put up with his increasing negativity and decline. As my Italian Catholic Grandmother would have said to David if she had witnessed his dedicated work: “David, God will remember that and repay you in Heaven.” To which he would have replied: “Yes, Nana” (with a twinkle in and roll of the eye).

Suffice it to say, David and I (from a distance of 1800 miles or so), saw him at his cantankerous worst—as happens with many people as they break down in old age.

But funerals are a time to reassess things in the light of memories good and bad, and—as David’s fabulous eulogy made clear—the good much outweighed the bad.

Funerals are unpleasant, but there is something really quite soothing and pleasant about them. I saw and talked with people I hadn’t seen in 50 years. I saw old friends. I met people who worked with Dad and had great stories about him. I met people who respected and liked him very much. And after the funeral and the post-funeral dinner, David and I had the pleasure of going through maybe 1000 or more pictures of ours and our parents’ lives as we were doing the work of cleaning out the house.

Pictures of trips to Oklahoma, pictures of Dad catching David or me in the front yard as we worked on pitching all through high school, pictures of relatives we had not seen in 40-50 years, pictures of old girl friends, pictures of Mom and Dad’s childhood, pictures that conjured memories—lots of good memories.

It has occurred to me over the last 10-15 years as I have ripened to my current senior citizenship, that it is those memories that light up a life. It is not the money I made, the things I accomplished—it is the simple stuff of memory that is accrued and provides life with its richness and joy.

So, here’s to good memories.

And here’s to Mom and Dad. They lived their lives simply, honestly, with great devotion to their children (who, like all children, didn’t always honor that devotion), and tried to be decent people. That’s a pretty good epitaph, in my book.  Tim

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