We have noticed more grey flecks and wrinkles here and there. Time is passing and we become increasingly older.
A younger relative passed a significant milestone in their age. Finally accepting that they are indeed an old fart.
A much older relative has significantly declined in the past few years. Becoming sicker they are no longer themselves. They used to be very outspoken with clear opinions on many matters, and very active even in old age. All that has changed and they are now a very different person. Isolated by deafness and irritated by their illness, they are difficult to reach and have become irritable.
But nobody has said anything about “the elephant in the room” but it seems he might only have a few years left because of his increasing health problems.
Conversations with other people relay the change, and don’t know what to do with that information. They don’t see that there are only a few years remaining, and they don’t know they should make the most of the days that remain. Instead they continue to busy themselves with the busyness of their own lives. Going on, as if nothing else will change. Everything will change when the older relative dies. They will die, most likely in the next few years.
This article might seem morbid and pessimistic. But in the next article we will explore how old age and death fit into a Buddhist context which is quite the opposite.