Love, Loss and Regret
I wanted to write something uplifting this time, but I couldn’t think of anything at the moment. What’s dwelling on my mind this week has been the loss of a loved one. The reason is there have been two women whom I work with that have lost their husbands, both in the last two weeks. One was very unexpected and the other, although her husband has been ill for some time, he was still quite young.
To me, it’s unbearable to even think of losing my husband or one of my children, but it happens. Ten years ago, it was unbearable to think of losing one of my parents. Since, I’ve lost both and still I’ve managed to carry on. Both, my parents and my husband’s parents lost a child during their lifetimes. My sister-in-law lost her husband, and I lost my brother from one tragic accident. I think I related to my sister-in-law’s feelings most at that time. As unbearable as it was to think of losing a husband, it was doubly unbearable to relate to my parents’ feelings. I remember them all going through the tragedies.
Misfortune happens to us all. When and where is out of our hands, the only way to deal with such heartache is with faith. Yes, faith. My faith in Jesus Christ helped me deal with the death of my brother in 1989, my mother in 1996 and my father in 1997, not to mention other family members not as close. There are still times I miss them. And there are things I can’t do. No, that’s not completely honest, it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I haven’t done them yet, not even after 10 or 17 years.
My brother was a wonderful man, a good man. I don’t think I ever saw anyone with as many people attending their funeral. There was standing room only in the large church where it was held. At visitation, there wasn’t time to even sit as the line out the door was so long that it took the entire two hours to get everyone through. Many loved him and I never even realized it. My brother was an engineer on the railroad for more than fifteen years; he was the superintendent of the Christian softball league and an ordained preacher.
David was a writer too, and a pretty good one. I feel bad that I never really read anything he wrote until after he passed. His articles on faith were published in our local newspaper. His wife’s sister found his writing (written by hand and some typed) and cassette tapings of his sermons while cleaning out the attic in the church he attended. She made copies for my parents and me. While I’ve read his articles, I still haven’t brought myself to listen to his sermons. Fear of how hearing his voice will affect me has stopped me from hearing his words.
My parents were also good people of strong faith. My mother was loving and honest. She would do anything to help anyone in need. But she also had a strong sense of right and wrong and of people, if they could be trusted or not. I never knew her to be wrong in that respect. Striving to be the best person she could be is what made her happiest. That and her family. My father on the other hand was much more relaxed and outgoing. He never met a stranger and his faith, like the other two, was also strong. I remember him studying his bible all the time. I regret tuning him out sometimes when he tried to talk to me about it. I remember stories of his childhood, exciting stories. His family moved a lot and he was always the new kid who had to defend himself against bullies. Being the youngest of eight children prepared him in protecting himself against who wanted to harm him. I can only remember living in three different houses growing up. And even with that, he kept us in the same school district, because he knew how hard he had it.
Dad had a lot of sayings. You know those as children we hated. Like the answer to the question why was always “because I said so.” And “if your friend jumped off a bridge would you?” But when you grew up, did you find yourself saying the same phrases you swore you’d never say? I know I have. There’s two phrases/quotes of wisdom he said I know I’ll never forget: “Never loan money that you can’t afford to be repaid.” and “Never charge to your credit card more than you can pay off in thirty days.” Living by these is much harder though.
There are videos of my parents at church that so far I haven’t watched. Again “fear” is what has stopped me, but I will watch them one day. Also my dad was talented. He taught himself to play the guitar and piano by ear, and he sang. I remember playing and replaying the Kenny Rogers song “Lucille” so that he could learn the words to it, play it and sing it. I have cassettes of him singing that I haven’t listened to either—same reason as before. My husband has listened to them. When country music changed though, he began listening to only gospel. He loved his music loud and he sometimes would play the guitar and sing when mom and I was interested in a movie infuriating us at times. But he loved to play and sing and show off.
My parents and my brother were all very giving people, financially and they gave their time to what they believed, and I only hope to be half as good as they were. I used to think it was only their bad habits and problems (not that they had many) I inherited. And I did get those, but I like to think I received their good abilities and habits too. I didn’t get daddy’s talent for music, that’s for sure, but whereas I can’t carry a tune, I have always had pretty good rhythm for dancing which doesn’t do me much good except every once and a while it offers me some exercise. I inherited my mother’s love of reading and watching the World Series, also of the Atlanta Braves. Actually both parents loved the Braves.
I think I’m a pretty good person and I love helping others when I can. My faith is strong. One day, I will listen to my brother’s sermons, watch my mom and dad on video and listen to my dad sing again, and I know that day will be soon. One of my greatest faults is putting off anything I deem unpleasant or upsetting.
Time is short, and I know that from my life’s experiences. So, it’s time to do the things I’ve been putting off. Besides the above, I need to redo my will, cancel AOL and give more of myself to others. I told my husband the other day that if we ever “won the lottery” even though I would quit my day job, I would like to volunteer my time to help the elderly and the sick in some way. My first thought was Mana Food Bank.
I guess the moral of this story is: Don’t put things off, even when you think they’re unpleasant or upsetting. And I hope this hasn’t depressed anyone. It’s just my thoughts for the last few weeks.