Yannow my family ages well. Maybe not physically... but spiritually and emotionally.
My Dad turned 75 yesterday or thereabouts, in our family birthdays are fluid things that fall on convenient weekends. The guests were myself and my brother and our wives, whom I expected, but I was surprised to see Unca Don there - my father's big brother who is nudging 80. Also there was my aunt Bob (my mother's big sister).
It was a somber affair. Unca Don lost his wife early in the spring and you can tell he took the hit square amidships. He has been hurt - badly - but he is still in the game. He takes longer to think before he speaks and is very restrained - he's still deep in his grief. The smiles are forced - but he's doing alright.
Auntie Bob lost her husband a couple years back now. Auntie Bob was always a loud, extroverted woman who was always in good cheer and she poked fun and humour at Unca Don and cheered him up a bit. Big Bro always knows what to say in every situation too - and I kept my mouth shut for the most part and and just people-watched the interplay around me. Pop is in good spirits but he is slowing down and knows his time is short - but doesn't really care. The old bastard bought a new used truck and then piped it - much to the consternation of some of the neighbours. He and Big Bro cackled like loons about it. I'm just glad the old fart isn't driving one of those stupid jacked up diesel Four By's that the idiot kids around here are driving. That will probably wait for his 80th, I suppose.
By the time supper ended we had a glass of wine into Unca Don and Auntie Bob had managed to get him to talk a bit. Unca Don is in a quandary now - he has a big sprawling house to care for, a ritzy condo out in BC on the island, and a cabin at the lake - and all the other junk a wealthy man accumulates over the course of a life time. He is thinking about downsizing as my aunt did when her husband passed - and they had started talking about it.
At that point Big Bro bounces up with his wife, says his farewells - and he and his wife were out like scalded cats. For some reason I knew my wife and I had to go too - and we all were gone like a pistol shot. I dunno why we left like that, I just think we needed to get out of there and give the oldsters their space. But now that I think on it - it may have appeared to Mom to be an 'eat and run'.
But those old folks seemed to be in some sort of moment out there on Pop's big sprawling deck. Although the winds were warm and soft, the dark clouds were gathering for a summer shower and the oldsters were discussing Adult Stuff - this didn't seem to be a time or place for us kids.
I hope Unca Don found some relief and peace on that deck last night, and that some lifelong friends remembered some absent ones fondly.