Once or twice, I’ve chided my wife for not taking good care of her grandparents; she only has two grandmothers left, while I still have a full set.

It doesn’t seem very funny this week. My maternal grandmother had a heart attack over the weekend, and apparently had something major happen last night, and they had to resuscitate her in the middle of some sort of bypass operation. She’s 82, with diabetes, with heart trouble, in the hospital for the second time this week. The end is near.

The thing is, it’s been years since I really lost anyone particularly close to me. My family is basically intact. I lost one cousin either before I was born or slightly after, and one step-aunt a few years ago, but that’s it–all 20-some first cousins, their kids, my parents, siblings, neices and nephews, my aunts and uncles, and grandparents are all still with us. I’ve lost former coworkers and I lost a former high-school classmate to a serial killer, but that’s not exactly the same.