One year ago, (now 3) I drove across town with the boys in blissful ignorance of what the day would bring.
We were on a mission to find post-Thanksgiving donuts to round out our holiday gluttony.
As we passed the lake; I saw that it was on the cusp of solidity, a magical phase that only lasts a few days.
“You guys want to stop and try to break the lake ice?”
“Yahhh!!!!” A few minutes later we parked, donuts in hand and began a simple activity that could consume our entire day if we let it. There are no rules, expect to make sure everyone is out of the way of your attempts. We used stones. And sticks. I supervised and walked the shore looking at all the little frozen moments in time. Absently thinking my dad would get a kick out of them and I should take pictures for him.
He loved bearing witness to nature’s fleeting singularities.
Experiences that you have to seek out or seize when the opportunity arises. The transitory stages of life and nature that stop for no one.
Like fall leaves becoming winter prisoners and simple sticks encased in frozen light. My parents taught me the importance of being aware of these simple mortal pleasures. My dad taught me to take pictures of them. So I did.
I happily clicked away, listening to the squeals of triumph and frustration as the boys continued their work. I felt contentment mixed with urning to share this with everyone back home, settling on snapshots instead. A futile bid to capture a feeling that will never come again.
My feeble attempt to bridge the gap between East and West.
The most important things in your life cost nothing but your time and awareness. The awareness that the chance may never come again.
It cannot be found in any sale.
Later that night, after a series of life ultering phone calls; I lay on my living room couch completely anyliated. Torturing myself with thoughts of all the things I would never have the chance to share with my dad.
He would never taste our summer’s harvest of honey.
He would never met the husky or cuddle with Pele again.
There would be no sharing days ‘North of town’ with the boys.
No more opportunities to be Grandpa Wise Man.
The finality of it was crushing.
Perhaps it was fitting the boys where with us. Reminding me, in no uncertain terms, why I was thousands of miles away from the rest of my family.
To make the memories and pass on the habits that were given to me.
Above all it reaffirmed some basic truths about life.
Take the time to truly be aware of the moment.
Make time with loved ones life’s highest priority.
It is not a complicated thing and there is only so much time for it.
Make the most of every second and never miss a chance to show someone you love them.
Like taking the time to stop and throw rocks at ice. For no reason other than that we were there together to do it.
Death is irreversible, beloved ones cannot be brought back… Your words are wise.
Often I find myself thinking “I will get to see this dear person soon, just as soon as there is a bit more time and I’ve got some things out of my way” (or thoughts along similar lines), but “later” may not be always actionable, people are not there forever.
I live far away from my family and so many times there is “no time” to go and visit. It’s painful to realise that one day, such opportunity will no longer be there.
All of the loved ones passed away when I was elsewhere, and I would arrive just a little too late.. that must be my fate!
I think I understand your pain for the loss. When it’s a festive time it seems to hurt even more. The thought that we would love a special person to be with us, a thing that will never happen again.
Sorry, I just realised mine is not a very cheerful comment!
LikeLiked by 1 person
The truth is the truth, cheerful or not. Much better to be authentic than to pull any punches 🙂 I always wish for “more time” with those who are far from me, it is the only thing worth asking for. Hard to be so removed from family. Thank you and be well, don’t worry about the cheer it will take care of itself. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you 🙂