Will The Last One Just Be a Loner?
Concerns and shadows as the chain of life continues
We see so many people walking side by side with us through life, and hear them talk about their children or grandchildren. Some of these people are exuberant, some dull, some with a shadow over their lives. We feel joy with those that are fortunate and dont care about the middle ones. But what do we know about the last ones? Carefully, we avoid asking about their children or grandchildren. But as our own life meets some of the light or some of the shadow on its way, we begin to understand how so many others have gone through their difficult experiences. We are deeply grateful for being blessed with healthy and happy children, but try to understand and support those parents who are not so blessed.
This is a collection of stories as we heard from friends and acquaintances or read about:
Friends of ours had seven children and, as they grew up, sent them to the best boarding school. Six succeeded in various demanding professions. One never could develop his mind. One of the brothers took him in to stay with him for some years then started his own family leaving this special brother to live in an institution. As the parents grew older, they hardly ever talked about this special son but we know that their hearts were most deeply burdened by silently caring for that one.
Another story: The parents seemed perfectly balanced as they talked about their successful son. But later, as the conversation turned to problems in life, we learned that they had a second son and that this one was afflicted by severe autism requiring all-day attention. They had used their financial reserves to finance a special school, specifically for severely afflicted children with autism and hoped for science to progress in this field. We sensed what suffering they must have gone through seeing their beloved son so lonely.
Other friends of ours have a daughter who does not correspond to our modern ideal of beauty. They greatly support her personal interests. Now, this young lady advances in the field of medical care to become a nurse, then a doctors assistant or medical practitioner but still lives without ever having had a boyfriend. Will she have to stay lonely all her life? Will they be left with no grandchildren? Life is full of surprise. We hope for the best!
The oldest son of friends was highly intelligent, successfully attending one of the best colleges; but then he became disillusioned with a job that consisted of merely going after money and position in society. Who would take care of the humble and suffering people he saw? He became a grade-school teacher for handicapped children. Seeing all their suffering, he did not want to have any children of his own and stayed lonely. We all hope that one day he will find the right partner and enjoy the happiness of a family.
We can hardly look into any large family without seeing some intergenerational problems and resulting sadness specifically, when they lead to loneliness and the end of the generational line.
When looking at the stories of famous families in history, all too often we see great parents being followed by children struggling with problems. In far too many cases, there is nothing left of their financial fortune after only one or two more generations. In the case of one very wealthy family who lived more than a hundred years ago, one son went down with the Titanic. The other found his interest in life in breeding horses and attending horse races. The line of heirs did not continue. Was the last one just a loner?
Many great personalities, specifically also generals, had either no children or only one daughter. How come? With that, their family may have continued, but not their name. Where are the descendants of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and many others?
To be born, to get older and approach the end of life are inherent in the phenomenon of existence. Sadness about departing is specific to us as advanced beings. Let us celebrate the days of life utilizing them as best we can to grow, to care in love for others, to enjoy all the beauty around us, but also to respect and support the suffering ones among us specifically, those who become lonely.