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gravestone inscribed "taylor, 1992-2023, husband, father, obligation"

husband, father, obligation

I'm puzzled by people who coddle their ancestors.

For some folks, family is a debt to be paid. They dole out love-shaped deeds in hope of karmic justice. They oblige to stave off guilt.

These people tolerate abuse from parents/grandparents because "they're getting old" and "nobody deserves to die alone".

I don't get it.

If nobody is eager to hang out with me as I age, maybe I deserve it. Maybe I spent my century making misery for others.

If all my stories bore, maybe I slept through life. Maybe I forgot to take risks, get hurt, and live to tell about it.

If I have no wisdom to impart to the fledgling generation, maybe I should've listened more. Maybe I should've learned something or cared about anything.

My body will betray me. My joints and skin and brain and viscera are openly plotting a coup.

When my time comes, I want love, not pity.

But the golden rule can be cruel. Kindness to me is not kindness to thee.

Is it possible to balance compassion, honesty, and justice?