Fatherless Father’s Day

I avoided social media yesterday.

This wasn’t a planned weekend technology detox – I am not that noble – rather, it was an act of self defense.

June 1st marked the 15th anniversary of my own father’s death, and while I am not the type to dwell on this fact often, on Father’s Day it’s really unavoidable.

In the decade and a half since my dad died from cancer, I’ve had friends whose fathers have also died.

This led me to think: what is the age where it is generally/socially assumed that one’s parent(s) is/are no longer alive?

Certainly it is not 29, which is the age I was when this happened to me. (My mom is still alive and kicking in great health, thankfully).

In the most conservative estimate, I’d wager 65 years is a safe bet. And if you’re 65 or older and you have living parent(s), wow! Celebrate your luck and fine genetics.

Dialing it back: 60 seems safe. Ditto 55. 50? Sure.

When I get to 45 and then 40 years, I’m not so certain.

The math isn’t easy. Average life expectancy in the US is about 79 years, and the average age of a first birth for an American woman is now 26. This obviously doesn’t account for being the sixth child in a family and thus having older parents or being the offspring of teenagers.

If the statistics can be used at all, it would suggest that most modern adults are roughly 79 – 26 = 53 years old when a parent is lost.

Once again, 29 seems to unfairly be on the wrong side of that equation.

So I stayed away from social media posts yesterday and felt grateful to be in the presence of another great dad, my Ever Patient Spouse.

 

 

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