My Visit Home: A Former Detroiter’s Tale Pt.2 : “A Time To Cry, A Time To Live, A Time To Die”
Monday morning, day two of my visit to Detroit was very interesting. My day began by attending the funeral of my husband’s cousin. Mike, one of the greatest auto mechanics to walk the streets of the ‘D’, suffered a major stroke a week and a half ago and passed away. He was forty-six. Mike’s death came on the heels of another cousin’s recent transition not even three weeks prior. When news came to us in Florida that my husband had lost not one, but two close cousins in a matter of weeks, it really gave the both of us reason to pause.
An interesting feature of the funeral was a slide presentation celebrating Mike’s life. The slide chronicled Mike as a young man; handsome, full of promise, flexing his muscles for the camera some thirty years ago, and concluded with a picture of him smiling happily as the best man at his favorite buddy’s wedding. Mike’s forty-six years of living was displayed on the projection screen. All within a good ten minutes. Sitting there taking this in made me wonder if it is really possible to canonize a person’s life into a perfect capsule consisting of so short a period of time.
Forty-six is not old by any ones standards. Especially if you are over the age of thirty-five. Which got me to thinking about my parents and grandparents. Seeing them Monday was heart-warming and heart-breaking. It was heart-warming in the fact that I love, care and miss them. The heart-breaking aspect of it was the realization that my parents and grandparents are aging. Rapidly. My grandfather, eighty-three, once the Casanova debonair gentleman, has evolved into a man not even the shadow of his former self. Struggling with Alzheimer’s, my grandpa barely remembered me, the granddaughter he raised as his own child. Though I was prepared for this by my grandmother, it was still hard to bear.
It is beyond difficult to watch your parents age before your eyes. As a child, you have very little conception of what it means to age. You are exposed to what the end process appears to be, but to actually see the aging process, frame by frame, is a sobering experience. Not living in Detroit and visiting twice a year, the aging of my parents and grandparents seems to be exaggerated. When it isn’t. It is just the cycle of life. We are born, we live and we die. In between that triangle, I suppose it is entirely up to us how we live out our years.
At forty, I can recall vividly my grandmother and mother at that age. I know that the journey I am on is a road that they have traveled. I look to them as examples on how to continue to develop into a mature woman of grace and style.