Friday, March 07, 2008

A Brief Meditation On Being Single ...

Wednesday morning, I went to a funeral.

The two front pews on the right were reserved for family. The front left pew was reserved for the pallbearers. I sat in the third pew on the right. My cousins, who had come in from New York for services, sat behind me. My brother and sister-in-law sat with them.

My mother and father sat in the front pew. No one sat in the second pew. I supposed I could have moved up, as I fall under the mantle of "family," but I stayed put.

So my parents were in the front pew, my one brother was behind me, my other brother was with the other pallbearers. I had family there, they just weren't sitting aside me.

While I waited for the service to begin, I started to think about what it means to be single as I get older. I don't have a spouse. I don't have children. I may have both at some point, but then again, I may not.

And so, if I die as a single person – as the youngest in my family, it's possible that I'll be the last of us to go – who will be there in the end?

I want to be cremated, my remains scattered off of Big Sur, but who will carry out that wish? A friend, maybe.

Most days, I don't think about being single. Sometimes, I think it would be nice to get married, but I'm not champing at the bridal bit.

But a funeral has a way of making you stop and think about the direction your life has taken. Is taking. Of course, there's always the opportunity to walk another path but for today, the path I'm on is the only one on which I can base my thoughts. All we have is this moment.

Then again, marriage is no guarantee. One spouse usually outlives the other. So even if I get married, I might find myself in a "single" situation all over again down the road.

Of course, once I'm gone, none of this will really matter.

But at the moment, it was good to keep my brain engaged.


Blogger Chris said...

I've run into this line of thought more and more as of late, and I am not sure why.

Whatever the reason, I find it a touch unsettling, not only for the obvious, but also, because I feel like there's a huge chunk of my life I have left undone, that continues to be as such, and I have no clue or proposition for changing that at this point in time.

I think that, more than anything -- the idea that I have no idea of how to access this part of my life that is slipping away - the worst of it all.

Unfortunately, I have no jauntily happy or silly way to de-melancholize this comment, but... there you go.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I have to admit that I sometimes think about what it means to be single at my age with no offspring. I don't know what bothers me more--not having a special someone to share my life with or not having children. At any rate, I must admit that there are times I feel incomplete.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a single woman without children, I don't think about my funeral so much as who is going to take care of me when I am old. I see my mother take care of her parents and I know I will take care of mine should they need it. But, who will be there for me if I should need help? I also worry about being lonely/alone when I am old.


9:31 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Don't be afraid of dying. Be afraid of not living.

I can't remember who said that but it's right. In my experience independent-minded people live longer and healthier lives any way - something to do with learning to fend for themselves and not to depend on others to define who or what they are.

11:34 AM  

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