This little corner of the internet is on the verge of returning to plenty of opinion and talk about not-very-important-to-the-proverbial-grand-scheme like movies and TV ever-so-shortly, but today, I found my thoughts interrupted once again. It’s not often that I really find myself contemplating the fragility of life. I don’t mean recognizing it, but rather, seriously considering it. Sadly, the concept hit close to home this week, and it made me not only think about capital L life but also about the strange complexities of familial relationships and especially why something like illness or death can affect each of us to such varying degrees.
Last night around 7pm in San Francisco, my grandmother’s husband Lou passed away. I specifically say “my grandmother’s husband” not out of any disrespect. Lou was a wonderful and admirable man. He was 94 years old, and while he had some health issues during the past few years, he died not from any long-term illness or simple natural causes; rather, about a week ago he was hit by a car. He suffered some broken ribs and vertebrae as well as one arm. All of these injuries, a younger person (one my age, for example) would most likely not have been life threatening. But it’s a virtual cliché, no? We all laugh at the “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up,” Life Alert commercials, but the truth is, a broken hip (or anything) to an elderly person can turn into a death sentence. When we become “elderly,” not only do our bodies no longer heal efficiently, but they also suffer infection and further illness too quickly. And that is what happened to Lou.