THE FINAL WHAT?

When I saw “final” as the word of the day, I got a chill. In the past two weeks, I have lost at least three friends with more on the way. Not to mention that my email is full of warnings of: “This is the final hour! Send $3 now!”

I fondly hope this isn’t the final hour for all of us, but it has recently been the final hour for more than a few friends and loved ones.  I don’t know how many more are on the special waiting line. I’m hoping that Death is like the guy in Terry Pratchett’s books. Pragmatic, friendly and most of the time, there to give you a hand to find your right place.

It is a strange feeling watching your group of friends grow smaller day by day. My mother told me a long time ago that “You know you are old when you start to lose your friends.”

I thought it was the creepiest thing she ever said. Later, I read a version of the same idea in various books. Mostly memoirs by “famous people.” I thought “There is nothing to prevent this final loss. No money, power, or fame can change it in any way.” It’s not that I thought money, power, or fame would stop the progression of life toward its ending, but I hadn’t given it deep thought.

To a degree, that hasn’t changed. I am pragmatic. I care, but I’m not sticky about it. I’ve come close enough to that line to realize it is never as far away as we might think. Final is. Like life is.  So I don’t brood about it, accept it when news arrives, feel the absence of another person I loved. I get notes from friends about their husbands. From the family of friends. A few really good friends. Others are sick and getting sicker. There won’t be an end to this. Someday, I suppose I’ll be the note in someone’s inbox. I hope it will be a generous and kindly note that skips over my failures and all those times I’ve been an asshole. Try to remember the laughter and humor. It’s the part I worked hardest at.

After all these years, I still don’t know how I feel about this ongoing march from birth to that final hour. When I was in my twenties and we — our group — lost someone, usually to a car accident or another unexpected thing, it shook us badly. We were too young. It wasn’t supposed to happen … was it?

Now it is the way the world rolls.

Final.

Final days of the earth? Final years of democracy? Final end to everything in which I believed? Or just the inevitable shearing off of living people whose time was finished?

If this is final, what does that mean? The final what?

23 thoughts on “THE FINAL WHAT?

  1. It’s scary when I see who is no longer here, some younger than I am and some the same age. The Terry Pratchett figure of Death helps. I began reading “Eric” today and in the beginnings of the book he tells us about the bee keeping talents of Death. He has his own hives with black bees that produce black honey. He even wears a head protection, although he cannot be stung as it is only bone. But he has a hollow head and sometimes the bees enter the hollow head buzzing around inside giving him a headache. There must be a moral to that one somewhere. I am still thinking about it.

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    • anyone who can appreciate the puzzlement and bemusement of Death in Prachett’s books can come sit right here beside me on the Pratchett bench. My favorite book is Death helping out Hogsfather during the holidays. Just trying to understand what drives people, and what drives them crazy. He’s a delight.

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  2. “You know you are old when you start to lose your friends.” – That is so true and I will remember this for ever.
    “There is nothing to prevent this final loss. No money, power, or fame can change it in any way.” – completely agree.
    Someday, I suppose I’ll be the note in someone’s inbox. I hope it will be a generous and kindly note that skips over my failures and all those times I’ve been an asshole. Try to remember the laughter and humor. It’s the part I worked hardest at. – This is so well said.
    You have left me with a lot to think about.

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  3. Marilyn, your Mom’s words resonate with me. It’s ironic because we were just talking about “feeling” young. Such a contradiction given the scenario we have with a friend/friends who we may be losing soon. It does remind me of my age and is depressing.

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  4. I think if you look back (not too far, you might fall in), we have all been losing friends and acquaintances and relatives for as long as we remember. It may also be now that aside from the fact that we are all aging entirely too fast as it is, we also know a LOT more people at our age than we did at 20. The base, as it were, has widened.

    The only part in all of this that I despise is being unable to find my shoelaces down there without rude noises and major effort. If I bend over, I just keep going. Not attractive. I may have to give up on shoelaces entirely.

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    • Oh, no question that it is age-related. Of course we have lost people before. Not only older family and friends, but younger people, too. But these days, there are simply a lot more of them and it is sometimes rather alarming. I try not to let it get to me. It’s hard not to feel a bit rattled when so many people in your world are leaving.

      You use shoelaces? What a brave woman! I’d get those elastic thingies you can use instead. All that bending over would make me giddy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, you are right, of course. It’s a perspective thing. As for shoe laces, I wear (depending on weather and time of day) boat shoes, mocs, loafers or slippers. On a miserable day like today when I have to run an errand, it’s either slip on boat shoes or (gawd help me!) sneakers that I’ll have to tie.

      My bigger problem are zippers. My fingers don’t work so good anymore.

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  5. Maybe it was the final prompt before they start repeating them again…

    As much as I’m not a particular fan of the song, the first thing that came to mind was that 80’s anthem by Europe “The FInal Countdown” (With maybe the most well-known keyboard riff in pop music history…)

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    • Unarguably, it is the most relevant song I could imagine, though I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. I was surprised when i realized I knew it. i didn’t recognize it when you said “piano” solo because that keyboard was electronic. In my head, that’s a different instrument.

      I’m going to add it to the piece and give it another run through. Because there’s nothing like just the right music to jazz up a post! Thank you!

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