Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sharing Our Lives, Our Memories, Our Selves

Retirement after 30 years of service in the US Navy. It's staring Lex hard in the face. All of his writing is good but in some places, it just seems to really shine. This would be one of them. Well worth the read.

But it was this particular comment that really caught my attention.

In a week, maybe 10 days the whole rig will go in a closet back home. Every once in a while it’ll catch my eye when I’m looking for something else. I wonder now what I’ll think about in those moments. What I’ll remember. Some day, hopefully very far in the future, it will fall to one of the kids to clean out the closet. Not knowing what any of it meant to me, because I’ve never found a way to talk about it that didn’t seem like boasting.
As any regular readers would know, we are going through a bit of a difficult time right now in our family. Although, come to think of it, I guess I haven't fully spelled that out recently. Following Mom's last hospitalization, we got some bad news. The kind of news you really don't want to ever hear. So, she's home now, and we deal with it day to day. Good days and bad days. With the goal of keeping her at home as long as possible.

Which takes me to part of the reason why Lex's comments above struck me so. I've known for a while now, in my heart, that I wouldn't have Mom much longer. This last diagnosis only gives a name to it.

But couple that with her intermittent dementia (intermittent in degree of severity but always there now to some extent) and I've found that more and more often lately some thought, some question will come to my mind about my family and I will think that I should ask Mom about that. Only to immediately realize that there likely isn't much point. Chances are that she will just say that she doesn't know or doesn't remember. And I know that, in the likely not too distant future, she won't be here at all to ask.

So it occurred to me that I hope that at some point soon Lex does at least attempt to let his kids know exactly 'what it any of it meant' to him. No matter how much he thinks it might sound like boasting or in some other way be inappropriate. Because even though at their ages, it would likely seem incomprehensible to them even if ever it crossed their minds (which chances are it won't), someday their Dad will be gone. And if he hasn't really made an effort to try and share the importance, the value and emotion, that he carries deep within him about his military service before then, a part of that very important history will be lost to them. And that would really be sad. A loss. Both for him and for them.

It didn't really seem appropriate to post this over in the comments at Lex's. So I think I will just leave it here on the off chance he drops by and it happens to catch his eye. And to remind the rest of us that no matter how disconnected or incomprehensible it may seem to us now, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our lives, someday we, too, will be gone just like our parents before us. And our children will be left with that same emptiness, longing and sense of loss.

When that time comes, what do you think they might they wonder about? What sort of things might they wish you had shared? What questions might linger for them? And, if you had the chance, what would you wish you had shared with them?

A morbid way of thinking of perhaps. Or perhaps not.

Perhaps it's just a realization of the circle of life and the chance to do some things differently than we might otherwise would have. A chance to give a gift that at some time in the future our kids (and even our grandkids) might, hopefully, thank us for.

It's at least worth thinking about. That's all.

1 comment:

Lex said...

Thanks, Mich. Good thoughts.

God grant me the courage to act on them.