There Is A Country for Old Men
Where the Old Warrior Looks Up & Finds That Death Has Been Defeated by Denyse O’Leary
Years ago, a woman I knew told me that her father’s death had created a sort of hole in her world. I said that when my own father dies, it will be like waking up to see that a mountain range in the distance has suddenly disappeared. That was how one of my close friends, whose father lost his hearing going over Vimy Ridge nearly a century ago, described the effect of his death in 1983.
Why should women on the verge of old age think as we do about very aged fathers? Partly because our fathers had fought in the World Wars. In subtle ways, our families were defined by those wars. People who asked about our parents implicitly recognized that, as in, “Did your father and mother meet during the War?” “Was your mother one of the WAVES?” “What did he do after the War?” and so forth. Some say the Sixties changed everything, but on reflection, I don’t think it changed us much. We were defined by the Warsand by being one generation off the farm.
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Denyse O'Leary is a columnist for Salvo magazine, and co-author, with Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain (HarperOne).
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