SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Travails Of Aging, Mourning The Dead

By Bob Weaver

Before my dad died in 2000 at the age of 87, I asked him what was most difficult about growing old.

He said that while suffering through the aches, pains and health problems of old age and my mother dying, it was watching members of his family and friends pass on.

As I'm now growing old, as each year passes, the pain of the such deaths are taking a toll.

Missing their presence.

In the past year, I've lost four life long friends.

For at least a couple years after my day died, the thought would enter that I should call him, or go over and see him.

I went to several funerals within a week, including one of a friend of 30 years who died of cancer. Asked by his family to say a few words at his funeral, I managed to fumblingly utter a few.

Now, during waking hours, I think of him, inspired to give him a call and listen to him rant about Obama. He watched Fox News during most of his waking hours.

It was life's journey we shared that bonded us, both of us recovering alcoholics, often joking about our wanton alcoholic behavior, able to laugh at our misdeeds or talk about the smallest of things.

In the Calhoun community, I mourn the passing of old-timers, some pillars of the community and some not. Old veterans and stalwart women, or real sorrow over the early demise of young people.

A while back three generations died in a Leading Creek fire. While not close friends, I was well aware how the Davidson family cared for each other, all of then having burdens to bear. The elderly mother cared for by her son, the son caring for his physically challenged daughter.

And Roy Davidson himself, trying to carry on after the early death of his wife by cancer the previous fall.

One would think I should have a higher acceptance of the cycle of life, having been a former funeral director.

Maybe it's just a lack of faith.

In the small community of Hur, virtually all the people I knew growing up have died since we returned to our home-place over 25 years ago.

Within the last year five of my neighbors have died.

My longtime friend and neighbor Charles "Tap" Kerby passed. Each time a car passes the house, I'm reminded of his daily journeys down the road, his presence still abounds.

Now, the last of the oldtimers Lula Starcher Hughes has passed at 103.

The greatest reward of doing the Hur Herald has been visiting with Calhoun people and hearing their stories. During the COVID-19 pandemic that has ended - social distancing. I cherish memories of those gone on, even the off-the-wall characters, grateful to them all for what they meant to my life's journey.

As each year goes by, I feel more alone with their absence.

Certainly the exercise of seeing those you have known die off is a preparatory exercise in facing ones pending mortality.