There were three key couples as I grew up: Sam and Judy (my parents), Nory and Burt (my mother's sister and her husband) and Edith and Bill (contemporaries of my parents, 2nd cousins of mine). It might be months, sometimes years, between visits, but they were always there.
Now, in the middle of my life, things change. My mother is no longer here, my father lost to the twilight of a massive stroke. My uncle Burt also struggles through a stroke, living for now in a nursing home (as is my father - both needing 24/7 care).
Bill has been decimated by the cruelty of Parkinson's Disease - and, a few days ago, he passed on. A release, to be sure, but also a profound loss. Brilliant, breathtakingly well read, and one of the wittiest men I ever knew.
My family changes. My brother and I take our places for the younger family members. We are becoming the unchanging couples, until we further age and fall prey to the same infirmities.
The circle of life.