Preparing for a sad, but also joyful, duty

I am preparing at this moment to take a four-hour ride from Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Portland, Ore., where I will participate in what can be best described as a cycle of life ritual.

I will bid farewell to my beloved uncle, Jim Phillips. I will be there along with his wife, his children, many of his grandchildren, one of my sisters and virtually all of my cousins on my mother’s side of my boisterous family.

It will sadden me to say goodbye. It also will enable us to rejoice in the full and fruitful life he had over the span of his 93 years on this good Earth. We will gather to remember the richness that Uncle Jim brought to us. I trust we all will in our own way pledge to cling to those memories as we move on through the rest of our lives. Those thoughts will not sadden me. They will make me smile.

These events are part of what all families must endure. Indeed, as I am now well into that stage of my own life, having just turned 70 a little while back, my sisters, along with my wife and sons, realize as I do that the clock is ticking for all of us. The number of our family elders with whom we grew up is diminishing  far too rapidly.

However, it is the inevitable march of time over which no one has any control.

It’s been said many times by many people perhaps over many adult beverages that “Not a single one of us gets outta here alive.”

So it goes … and so it will be.

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