When death visits your family, it inevitably causes you to think more soberly about your own mortality. It’s morbid, sure — but it’s also human nature.
For young people, of course, death seems very remote and abstract. It’s something that happens to extremely old people — ancient, really — and seems to come on a generation-by-generation basis. Typically, that is exactly what happens. If you are surrounded by parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and even in my case a great-grandparent, it is as if there are multiple generational shields protecting you from the inevitable.
But as the world turns and those older generations are winnowed down, you become uncomfortably aware that your turn at the wheel is drawing nearer. When your last surviving grandparent dies, you know the scythe will be swinging one generation closer. Then, as parents pass, you become much more sensitive to the health of those uncles and aunts who represent the tattered remains of that final generational ring of fortification. In the Webner family, unfortunately, we’re now down to exactly one uncle and one aunt.
So live long and prosper, Uncle Mack and Aunt Corrine! You’re my last line of defense.