Personal Essay

Life Changes for Everyone . . .

As we experience life it changes constantly for each of us and in the process we are changed by it. Recently when I attended the visitation to honor a friend’s father who had recently passed away, I was thrown back into memories of my own father’s visitation and funeral. There were so many memories – watching my father pass away in a hospital room and not being able to do anything about it, the blur of the many faces of friends and family afterwards, my daughter’s hand holding mine tight through everything, and my husband holding me up through it all.

When my mom passed away, we all knew she was going to die. Hospice was in and she was sinking into more sickness than her body would be able to recover from. My dad’s death however, seemed sudden and unexpected. Looking back I probably knew it was coming sooner than later. I just didn’t want to believe it. All though both of my parents are deceased now, I often wish I could call them or buy them one more birthday present or just have one more face-to-face conversation with them. I have a brother and a sister, but sometimes I feel like I am an orphan set adrift in the world. We need our parents and family to feel part of the larger group of our relatives. Thank goodness I have a good family to anchor me down. My husband and daughter have always been there for me and when my writer head dwells too long in the wishes I have for my parents to still be here, my husband and daughter remind me of the wonderful memories that we all shared. The time we spent camping together in an actual tent when I was a kid, the family cookouts and softball games with my aunts, uncles and cousins, or the long Sunday drives in the back seat of that huge Impala with a huge ice cream sundae to eat and a book on my lap, these are some of my favorites. Watching the slide show of my friend’s life and times with her parents and their family, brought back some of the times I had forgotten with my own. The clothes, the cars, the TV’s, they all looked like the generation in which I grew up.

We share so much as a human race, but sometimes we forget that we have more in common than not. We may grow up in different states, different countries even, but we all are human and we all have a family somewhere of some kind. Your family doesn’t have to be blood related to you, just share your life. The things that make us the same, the love of our parents and extended family, secure us to life and the things that matter to us the most. Too often we are so busy living that we forget to live, to enjoy, to listen, and to love.  If you are still making memories with your parents, then you are truly blessed. My mother-in,-law will be celebrating her 92nd birthday in a week or so. Even though she has Alzheimer’s now, she still knows us. She gives us more memories to cherish with each visit, even though we know one day we will not be able to make new ones with her.  What memories of your childhood or parents do you cherish? What would you tell them if you had one more hour, one more day to enjoy their company? What is your favorite memory? Cherish those memories and the ones you get to make every day with the ones you love. This life as we know it is too short, so live every single minute and make lots of memories! Let me hear from you on your favorite ones!

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