encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

The Gradual Shock

When it first shows, we either deny it, embrace it, or cover it.

The off-white ceramic tile floor held tables, chairs, and persons. New, round tables were dotted with various beverages and paper plates of colourful food. Emotions varied according to each person’s experience, connection and memories. Laughter peeled through the community room; so did sniffles and polite nose blowing.

Unlike family reunions, yet actually similar, are funerals. Saying good-bye isn’t like the hellos of a fam-jam, yet the gathering is similar in the way a lot of people haven’t seen each other for a number of years.

I sat with a coffee, and a rumpled tissue pushed under one eye then the other. The acoustic guitar tribute got me. I noticed not just me. Afterward, I watched mostly well dressed feet going in purposeful directions on the clean floor. Some headed back to food and beverage tables, other strode to greet people who had nearly become strangers.

I recognized many, and the surprise was subdued, because people grow older, I know. Nonetheless, it grows where a once proclaimed illusion of never ending youth is taken for granted. The gradual shock of grey hair.

The shock got the spirals of my long lost friend’s rock and roll pride. The grey strands mingled with intrusiveness in his soft brown length. Bit by bit, some were tentatively welcoming maturity. Others, years behind my age, the gradual shock left them entirely white. Silver graced the crowns of many, working its way to temples and tips. The gradual shock is a respecter of no one.

How did we all get this old? We’re only in our fifties.

I mingled, my silver stripes demoting me from childhood golden locks. My peers silently brought me to a realization this February: it’s okay to look older. It’s all right to let the gradual shock cajole me into aging gracefully.

Funerals are the celebration of lives lived. Weddings, a celebration of lives joined. Both of these events demonstrate how time waits for no one,¬†starting with¬†matrimony; babies, grown children, then funerals of parents, and next our friends….

I observed. I said good-bye. I cried. I viewed photos. I mingled. I hugged. I laughed.

I wondered how it is going to be for me.

Thanks for reading.

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