Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carpe Diem; Seize the Day


Today is October 30th, the 303rd day of the year.  It holds no special meaning except that it is your first chance of the day to brush a loved one's cheek with the softness of your lips, to whisper in their ear "I love you".  

You may have said "I love you" a thousand times, but it is always the last one you utter that means the most.  Let no time pass before you've expressed your love to a dear one for it may be the last time you'll ever have time to say it.  

I just read a heart breaking story about a mother's loss of her son.  She worked nights, and upon returning home, she found her son waiting in his car for her to return so that he might take her out for a late night breakfast.  Mom was thrilled at the sweet and spontaneous gesture coming from her teenage son.  The two drove down to the diner and ate pancakes and eggs and first of the morning coffee.  

The diner was quiet at that hour and they sat across from each other in the booth, their reflections dancing in the night darkened window, as they spoke of the doings of their day, of their plans for tomorrow, spoke of memories, often repeated but no less valued for their repetition.  Sleepy-eyed at last they drove home, hugged and kissed goodnight, then retreated to their own rooms.  It would be their last night together for the next morning the son was killed in an accident on his way to work.

Few of us will ever be as fortunate as that mother and son.  To have experienced the mutual joy of a spontaneous act of love and kindness, to have had one last chance to ruminate about a treasured past and to express dreams that will never be.  

When my own son died all I had was a Saturday morning phone call, loving and caring, but mundane in matter; how the new job was going, asking about his new apartment, the weather up there..with a sweetening at the end of the call with his recently inevitable reminder of how much he loved I reciprocated in kind.

When my sister died I had just returned from Saudi Arabia and had driven down to my little hometown for reunion with my family.  We had just arrived at my mother's house when sis' husband, ashen faced, walked through the door and told us that sis was just taken by ambulance to the hospital and things didn't look good.  We arrived at the hospital within minutes but she was already gone..a victim of a violent heart attack in the car en route to us.  We missed the last kiss and hug from her by no more than a minute or two..

When my dear uncle Floyd died, a man more a father than uncle, I could not be with him either.  But the pain of losing him was eased by the memories of the last magical night we were together.  On that last night we had sat up until late in the night, talking softly of the things and people who mattered to us, of our joys and our sorrows.  We mourned those who had passed on and we rejoiced in our love for both the living and the dead.  And we openly spoke of our love and respect for each other...then retreated to our beds, our feelings spent, our sleep no doubt blessed with soft dreams.

When my mother died we were all blessed in knowing her time was near.  We had, if not all the time we wanted, at least the time we needed to express our love and what she meant to our lives.  We were with her when she took her last breath and we graciously let her go...let her begin her new journey, free of worry and pain, no longer fatigued by old age and the ravages of disease.  

But, fortune rarely smiles on us, in the manner we wish to say goodbye to those we love.  We are rarely given that one last chance to say "I love you", to embrace for one last time.  

So, dear readers, carpe diem, seize this day, to get on your knees, put your arms around that beautiful child, draw them to you, feel the delicacy of their tiny delicate and fragile as the promise of life itself, and whisper in their ear that you love them above all things.  Spend an hour with them as they take every single toy from their toy box, be kind enough to marvel at every wondrous plaything...and if you're lucky enough there will be a tomorrow for you to do it again.

And to those who are lucky enough to still have a mother or father with you, get on your knees beside their chair, massage and oil their feet, hold their hand, and when bed time comes, feel the coolness of their lips as you kiss them them as if it will be the last time you see them...

Seize the day....every day that is given you...and when it is "your" time, you can close your eyes and go in peace, knowing you have given all the love you could give.

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