I've been in deep thought since the recent death of my father.
One of the things I keep thinking about is how my childhood is really, officially over. I know, I'm almost 35, my childhood should have been over almost two decades ago. I'm not talking about being grown up, I'm talking about not having the previous generation available for guidance.
And such is the circle of life, I guess. Every generation tries to teach the next through guidance and absence, through lessons and examples both good and bad. They try to teach how to be. How to be a provider, or how not to be one. How to be responsible for a life, or how not to be. How to gain or lose respect. And while they're around and able, they're a valuable resource to have in your back pocket. They are a valuable sounding board, they are your biggest cheerleaders, they believe in you without reason, or at the barest minimum give you a continuing example of what you either want or don't want. Once they're gone or infirm, or to a lesser extent relocated, the time for theory is over. The responsibility is not of the teacher anymore to teach us, but of the student to apply what we have learned and to infer what the proper course of action. Training is over. The keys to the world are bequeathed to us.
My father was a flawed man, as we all are, but at his core he was a good man. While he was never as much a presence in my life as either one of us would have liked, I do feel the absence. I have learned all the lessons I can from him in regards to how to be a man, and how to balance pride and humility, joy and pain, success and failure. My brothers and I can only hope to apply the lessons learned from this man's life to our children when the time comes.
And in doing so, prepare the world for its next keyholders.