As the holidays arrive, my thoughts turn to my dad. It is so hard to celebrate the holidays without him, because he enjoyed them so much. Having all, or at least most, of his family together was one of the highlights of his life. Dad was all about family. If we didn’t come over for a week or so, and we were in town, he would tell us that we needed to come for lunch. He didn’t want to let time go by without sharing those moments, lunches, talks…time with his kids. The years go by so fast, and Dad understood that. He knew that the older we got, the busier we would be, and the harder it would be to get together. Whenever I think that I am too tired or busy to go and spend time with my mom and my sister, or my in-laws, I remind myself that time flies and regret lasts for the rest of your life.
Sometimes, we fool ourselves into thinking that there is plenty of time to go see those important people in our lives, and then before we know it, they are gone and we wish we had gone to see them more. I am so thankful that I spent so much of my dad’s last 2 years taking care of him, because, while nothing makes his home going easy, it did make it less filled with regret. For any of you who have lost loved ones, especially during the holidays, such as my niece and nephew, Jenny and Steve whose daughter Laila passed away 2 years ago tomorrow, you know that you always wish something could have been done differently to change the outcome, but what is done is done, and it cannot be undone. And for those like my niece Chantel and her family, and my sister-in-law, Debbie and my brother-in-law, Lynn and their family, whose loss was not near the holidays, but devastating nevertheless, you know that, though the years have passed, the sadness still returns from time to time. You cannot dwell too long on the past, because now it is your difficult task to go on…because you must, for the rest of your family.
Today I am sad because of the losses we have endured, and tomorrow we will be thankful that we had those loved ones in our lives…even if it was for too short a time. We will be thankful for who they were, and what their life meant to us, and for the joy they brought into our lives. And we will be thankful that we will see them again soon…and for all eternity.