Ageing is opening your hands and letting things pour out.
A number of years ago -- 2007? -- my dad came to visit me in Seattle. He was already losing his memory, but he knew he wanted to visit the Museum of Flight. It was scary and challenging for him to get on that plane from Minneapolis without anyone (Mom was staying home; I think she needed time away from him), and worse when I mistook the arrival time so that I was over an hour late picking him up; but we had a good time anyway. He had a beat-up digital camera: not the nice one Mom bought him for their cruises together, but one that, if he dropped it or lost it, she wouldn't get mad. And he took pictures of everything. He said, "I forget most things if I don't take pictures" -- the most heart-rending thing he ever said -- but to be honest, I don't think he remembered even when he did. I think he forgot to how to use the camera soon enough, and then how to use the computer to look at the pictures. I don't know if he ever looked at the thousands of pictures he took during those few days. I don't know how many pictures he took of me, to try and remember who I was, for a later he wasn't really there to experience. 

I took him to the Museum of Flight, and to the Chittenden locks, and to the Shintō Tsubaki Grand Shrine, where Koichi Barrisch was kind, generous and patient, treating my dad as a fellow servant of G/god(s). I was living in a tiny one-bedroom, so I gave him the bed and slept on an air mattress in the living room. He was fantastic, my dad. 

This is not sadness that has me writing about him. 

I have been thinking about Ursula Le Guin's death, and about Mort Walker, who died this weekend, who was a high-school schoolmate of my mentor. And Jim, who is 94, who has buried more family than I have ever possessed. Other deaths, too, recent and not so. And my brother -- who is still alive, and younger than me, granted; but he has surgery coming up in a bit and you never know, right? Right. 

We will lose them all, and then, eventually, the world will lose us. This is the way things are. If we don't find a way to make our peace with this, the world becomes emptier with each loss, a little more bitter, a little colder. I at least don't want to spend the rest of my life progressively gutted by loss until I am a creature of dry bone and wind and loneliness.

Is there a way not to? I think opening one's hands is my answer: letting go of the living person I have lost, if and when I can. And also pouring out seeds from my unfisted hands: sowing, sowing, sowing. Being a writer. Being a mad visionary. Whatever I am: being that, authentically. Writing when I can, what I can. Teaching when I can, what I can. Smiling at people, and if they want to smile back, they can. Not saving the good stuff for later. 

There's more to it than that, but this is a start.