Posted July 24, 2021
". . . Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go, I'm one generation's length away, from fighting life out on my own . . ."
From John Mayer’s "Stop This Train"
I always try to look at life from a positive perspective – not through rose colored glasses, mind you. I just try to – more times than not – look for the positive in life.
However, sometimes it seems that the words “positive” and “life” shouldn’t be in the same sentence.
As a second cousin of mine said when she was about four years old: “Life is life.”
Out of the mouth of babes . . .
I am musing like this because one of my closest and dearest friends has left to go back home after spending two weeks with one of his parents who had suffered a stroke. Both of us lost our moms a few years ago and we just have our dads. Seeing my dear friend having to deal with this unfamiliar territory was sobering almost as much for me as it was for him.
Being the empath that I’m told I am, I found myself in my friend’s shoes and looking at my 85-year-old dad. I swear that it was just two blinks ago that my dad towered over me in my youth. Now, he’s a frail but healthy man just a tad shorter than me.
Being the realist that I am, I know that my days with my dear dad are numbered. In my heart of hearts I know that. But the positive part of me cherishes the time I have with him, and I am fortunate that I get to be with him every day.
We have breakfast and lunch together every weekday at one of the local diners and I love every minute of it.
We enjoy drives afterwards on the roads of these gorgeous Smoky Mountains.
He drops in on me frequently while I’m working to talk about this or that.
Each second of those times are deposited into my overflowing treasure chest of memories. Yes, as John Mayer sings in the song that this piece is titled after, this train called life ain’t stoppin’. And I want it to so terribly bad.
As I observed with my friend and his dad, I know that one beat of the heart can and will change everything. One beat, we have our parents. The next beat, we can no longer hear what they have to say. But their words are buried within us.
Why am I writing all of this?
I guess it’s because I honestly do try to learn from others. In this case, it’s from my dear friend and his dad. Their experience hit way too close to home to not feel it. Though I know each and every day that my time with my dad is a precious gift, my friend’s experiences are reminding me that life really is just a vapor.
Our parent’s lives.
Our friend’s lives.
Sadly, some of us have learned the hard way that our children’s lives can be painfully short.
Don't let life’s brevity catch you off guard. Savor the moments with all whom you love – especially your parents and grandparents.
Don’t take for granted the time you have with them.
Get together with them. Often.
Reach out to them.
Call them regularly if only for a five-minute chat.
If they’re very chatty, listen to them. You'll be glad you did after they're gone.
Do nice things for them.
If your relationship with your parents or loved ones is less than “golden,” try to look for ways to rise above those negative memories and create good, positive ones about them or with them. It will he a healing salve to both of you.
I know that – even though I spend all the time I can with my dad – after he’s gone, all those times won’t feel anywhere near enough. So, I savor the moments. Each and every one of them.
Create and savor such moments in your life because, to paraphrase John Mayer, we’re one generation's length away from fighting life out on our own.