I have this image in my mind of something that did not take place. I imagine that someone visited me a year ago. He had special powers and insights, as if he could see into the future, if not visit the future. He sat down with me and said to me: “I have some bad news to tell you. Lots of terrible things are going to happen to you over the next twelve months. You will lose your son. You will never get to see him grow up. You will lose the father you’ve known for your entire life. And there will be other things that throw your life into a tailspin, change you fundamentally as a person, and make you question yourself and your path in life.“
“Can I wake up from this nightmare now?” I asked him. “I’m sorry, it’s not a dream,” he responded. “Why are you telling me these things?” I asked him, in a scene eerily similar to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or something like that. Anyway he didn’t answer, and he just moved along and left me in my state of shock and disbelief.
We are blessed—or cursed, depending on your point of view— because most of us mere mortals cannot see into the future. What would I have done in that situation, how would I have reacted, with the knowledge of the tempestuous journey to come? I keep asking myself this, and I have no answers. Indeed, it has been quite a year for the family, with Dad and Peanut Boy leaving us, not to mention that my sister-in-law’s mother passed away just a few months before Dad. And Peanut Boy’s other grandfather had open-heart surgery, which was a big scare, and thankfully he recovered. Throw in the personal impact of a severe recession, and you have, well, quite a year.
To be sure, there is still ample time to cry, and cry we will—and often. And yet, there is also happiness. There is still time to laugh and to joke, to look forward to what the future brings, to savor those small morsels of joy, and to enjoy the sunflowers as they grow. I’m still here, I say!
What I take from the experiences of the past year is that it is important to enjoy the ones you have while you have them. Appreciate the good things and the good people in your life. Help those you know, and help those you don’t know. Maybe you can give them a leg up, or fill in some of the potholes in the road of their life’s journey. That’s all I have for now.