What does it mean when your parents die? How about when their whole generation has moved on to the next life? My Mom passed away two days before Christmas, so I am trying to figure that out. She was the last of her generation in our family as she joined a host of our aunts and uncles.
Profound loss. That’s what comes to mind. My Mom was both sweet and salty, but I loved her deeply and I miss her greatly.
What does it mean that we no longer have the presence of her generation? A loss of responsibility. That generation took responsibility and sacrifice as their guiding principle. Provide for the family. Protect freedom. Support you country, your church, whatever you belonged to.
They protected their couches with plastic slip covers because they appreciated what they had and wanted it to last for a long, long time. They did their own odd jobs and did not have “a guy” for every little thing that needed to be done around the house. They were “should-ers and sham-ers” because they believed a common set of values were the standard for everyone. They had convictions, if not proper motivational technique. They were solid, not flashy. They kept their nose to the grindstone, rather than worrying about their own self-actualization. Now they are gone, and we feel the loss and see the contrast.
They didn’t get everything right. They were sexist and racist, but didn’t really know any better. They were too consumed with working to have much time for nurturing. Our generation feels the resultant pain, as we vowed to make corrections. But they gave us a lot and, I suspect, that some of their values, may never be that widely held again.
But there is something else the passing of this generation has given us baby boomers: a sense of our own mortality. We are the new old people, retiring and preparing for the last few chapters of this life. There is a new sense of responsibility that comes with that. It’s time to do whatever we are going to do. We have limited time to make a (positive) lasting impression. It’s time to focus on finishing well.
I find a sense of hope and purpose in life’s new chapter.