The math of living and dying


I think about life in terms of generations rather than individual lives. My interest in Genealogy is probably the reason for this. So in terms of generations, within my family, I am creeping up to the top, next inline for the top spot as it were. My mother and father, aunts and uncles now occupy the “oldest” positions in my living Genealogy with me, my siblings, and cousins in the number two position.

But over the next few years that will change and I will move from the number two spot to number one. Sadly, that change has already begun with the recent death of my aunt whose memorial service I will attend today.

When I work on my Genealogy I like to look at the numbers, the years that separate births and deaths. These numbers ebb and flow based on a number of circumstances and situations. For instance, when I look back 100 years or so at some of my more rural ancestors mothers had children early and often and husbands were typically older than their wives, anywhere from five to ten years older. In a number of cases, husbands outlived their wives and remarried women even younger who were put in baby making production immediately at which point you had 50 and 60 year gaps between fathers and children.

My parents are roughly 20 years older than I am. My wife and I are about 30 years older than our kids. Maybe it is just me but I find these numbers fascinating to consider. These spreads or gaps are affected by a number of factors. When I was growing up I had friends whose parents I thought were ancient compared to the “kids” my parents were. Each had their own story or reasons for having children later or, like my parents, early. When my mother was my age today she already had six grandchildren that ranged in age from 10 to 4 years old. Me, I got zero grandchildren with none on the horizon for a few years to come.

The recent death of my aunt is the first of the generation ahead of me. I would suspect over the coming years I will be attending several more of these memorial services including two for my parents. Certainly these will be sad occasions as my aunts will be today but their will be humans there to celebrate a life that wouldn’t exist without her. Children and grandchildren that owe their life, their existence to her just as she owed her being to generations before her.

Maybe it sounds crazy but living is just math, addition and subtraction sprinkled with love. We all fall into the math just as we all fall into the love we just need to remember to make the numbers and the love count for the short time we are here.

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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9 Responses to The math of living and dying

  1. Absolutely right, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JJS says:

    “addition and subtraction sprinkled with love” … this is a lovely turn of phrase

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty says:

    That doesn’t sound crazy at all and my condolence. I hope it was a peaceful ceremony.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patty says:

    That doesn’t sound crazy at all.
    My condolences, hope it was a peaceful ceremony to say goodbye to your loved one.

    Liked by 1 person

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