I haven’t blogged or journaled in quite a while. I have been resting. Just because. Sometimes reflective silence is necessary. Today, I write.
This morning I read a posting of a casual acquaintance on social media. This is a man of successful professional stature. He holds a prominent public position, but has chosen to strip himself bare over the past several months to grapple with the pain of losing his father, a man of integrity, compassion and leadership. Having known his father well, I understand the void this man is facing at the loss of the one major constant in his life. I understand the floundering emptiness, not because of who his father was, but because I shared the same dazed confusion when I lost my own mother. I, too, wanted to pick up the phone to call her for words of reassurance to get me through the shock and loss. Even now, nearly 36 years later, the stab of grief nearly chokes me if I revisit those first moments too closely. I do understand the pain, the process, but there is something much greater than simply healing and moving forward that I have learned from this experience.
I have many milestone flags by which I mark the passage of my life; when I married, when my sons were born, when we lived in various cities, when I began my career, when it ended. But, no matter what the time frame of reference, the one demarcation line which never waivers is “Before Mom died” and “After Mom died”. The power of some things simply never wanes.
We are all just humans, trying to live and love in the best way we know how. Often, we don’t do it very well. And yet, in spite of our sometimes stumbling footsteps, it is a likely probability that we may be that one person in someone else’s life, that person around whom defining moments may be built. It is a staggering responsibility to contemplate, but one which can only inspire us to reach for the best within our heart and soul.
“Someday you’ll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.” So achingly profound and honest, whether it is one person or the world that remembers us. Perhaps it is the only real truth we need to guide our journey.
Last night I exchanged text messages with one of my oldest friends. This mother of sons recently lost her young, courageous daughter in law. Now she is facing palliative care with her husband of 40 years. I stood up with my friend when she married this man, and now all I can do is promise her that I am still here if she needs me.
So often we cannot choose or understand the circumstances which we encounter in life. Many are beyond our control or seem unfair. What we can choose is how we grow, and who we become because of these events.
I’m trying to pay attention. I’m trying to see the beauty and the simplicity, to love imperfectly and unconditionally. I ‘m trying to be someone that is worthy of good memories.