Jane Samuel: The End of an Era

My husband’s father passed away in late March at the age of 87.  I wrote this piece the next day. It originally appeared on my blog MavenMama on Bluegrassmoms.com

Everyday approximately 1,100 World War II veterans die. I was floored when my husband shared this statistic with me, until I realized how many served in that war – 16.1 million.

Tonight, my father-in-law joined the ranks of these comrades in arms and passed quietly away. At eight-seven, he had lived long and hardily all the way to the end.  Just an hour before he collapsed he was sitting in his favorite recliner watching his much loved hockey team on the television in the assisted living apartment he shares with his wife of sixty-four years.  

As my husband and I sat alternately weeping and laughing he wondered aloud if we are ever really ready for the passing of a parent.  Even when our parents have had more than their fair share of life, and are ready to journey to their Heavenly Father, it is still a blow, a sad surprise.  Even when the best and worst case scenarios of “ways to pass” have been discussed and played out in long distance phone calls and in quiet conversations, and the best case scenario does indeed come to fruition one is not prepared. 

And with the passing of Frank, and other veterans like him, who protected us and liberated millions more in allied countries, it is the end of an era.  An era of brave men who served their country and then returned to marry their sweethearts, go to college on the GI Bill, buy their first home, and raise a family in a middle-class-town.  

Yes, he served his family and his country well and it is indeed the end of an era.

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