The Age Of Loss

Posted on May 11, 2022 by Lisa Thomas under Uncategorized
1 Comment

We all know Death doesn’t play favorites (thank goodness . . .).  We also know a young age doesn’t guarantee safety from his clutches just as old age doesn’t mean he’s waiting around every corner, preparing to pounce.

That being said, it’s always distressing when the young come into our care.  By all that is good and just in this world, we should not be serving their families.  But on the other end of the spectrum, when those who have lived a long, full life come to us, no one is really surprised.  It’s to be expected at some point . . . of course the later the point, the better.

Some weeks ago we were assisting just such a family.  The lovely lady whose death brought them all together had lived that long, full life I just referenced—99 years packed with memories and stories that will remain with them for generations.  The family was wandering about, visiting with each other and the friends who had come to pay their respects, when one of them mentioned her age.  Close by stood a very young man . . . a child, actually.  Upon hearing that number, he took a moment to process the information then, looking up at the speaker remarked, “She’s 99?  I don’t feel so sad now.”

Ah . . . out of the mouths of babes . . .  Even in his youth he understood not all death is an occasion for sorrow.  Sadness perhaps.  Maybe dislike for such a permanent change in our lives.  Possibly even a desire for just one more visit or hug or moment to share.  But there’s so much there to celebrate, and more often than not, in those instances it’s the celebration that becomes the focus.  Not the mourning.

Years ago I was visiting with a family who found themselves in the same situation—a loved one was approaching the unfathomable age of 100 but left them just shy of that milestone.  As we walked across the foyer and I was expressing my condolences, her daughter looked at me and said, “You know, it’s sad.  But it’s not a tragedy.”  Those words have stayed with me all these years.  So many times Death’s appearance is a tragedy.  But when someone leaves us who made a positive impact in the world around them, who has lived that long, full life to which we all aspire, of course it’s sad—but hopefully we don’t forget there is so much there to celebrate, too.


About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

One thought on “The Age Of Loss

  1. Nettye Beck says:

    Hope you are writing a book. I always enjoy your writing!

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