My prayers are with a high school friend who is preparing for her mother’s funeral tomorrow. Such times are tough in so many ways.

Her father died many years ago, which got me thinking about an interesting dynamic that seems to come from the death of one’s last parent.

My father died three years before my mother and the grief was equal. But there was this feeling during my mother’s funeral and afterward that took me awhile to identify.

I finally concluded that it was the removal of the perceived generational barrier between the cemetery and me. It was like the words, “Next in line!” were wafting over the scene.

Of couse, death doesn’t take a strict chronological course. But the odds are stacked that way.

So whether based in reality or not, there is (or was for me) a greater sense of the temporal state of human life following the death of a second parent. It was a stronger, more personal acknowledgement of what I knew in my head but was now feeling in my inner being: earthly living really does have a time limit.

Since then I’ve held to a stronger awareness of and commitment to making the very most out of the days and years afforded to me. I embrace the strong belief that life here, while temporary, is gift indeed.

So what do we do when the buffer is gone? We realize anew that faith, hope and love remain. And the greatest of these is love.

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