For those of you that read me, you know, family is first and foremost in my priority listing here on earth. God, family, work,..well a couple of things before work, but that’s another entry.
I attended a birthday party for my Mother and Father last weekend. These get-togethers usually include both Mom and dad, my sister, her family and extended in-laws and my family. My brother is out of town and usually can not attend. I was nice. From the start, my sister Shannon is the master hostess. Her house is beautiful, in a nice gated community on the west coast of Florida. It’s big enough to contain our brood and entertain at the same time. An invitation was sent to some of Dad’s sisters and brothers and his favorite niece popped in for the occasion. I say “popped in”, but we are Florida and she lives in New Jersey. My Dad was tickled. Everyone enjoyed themselves, the party was a success.
Part of the reason my cousin came, was to see my Mom and Dad. The other reason was to come and say goodby to her own Dad. Pat’s health had been failing these past months, but I , nor any of the family really understood how far he has fallen. Until I saw him , I really didn’t understand. He could only raise his arms to about shoulder level. His movements were small and deliberate. He had no strength whatsoever. He had sores on his wrists and arms and I am told he was incontinent. He was a shell of the man I knew as a child and his reputation in our family was not a good one these last few years. Out of respect for my mother, I had not seen him since he came to Florida. It was nice seeing him. Jen warned me before we entered the house of his condition. It must have been much more startling for her, because it wasn’t to me. I have seen that scene countless times in my younger days when I nursed old folks to health. His cognitive ability must have been effected by the fact he can’t get much oxygen in. His lungs are filled with fluid. The look of absence lingered on his face. His eyes were glassy and the man I knew, the Patrick who was smart, witty, and sharp at times was gone. He was just an old man, waiting to die.
In conversations with Jennifer, I told her, “No one knows what is in his mind. No one knows if he will last a week, or a month, or another year. How long he remains on earth is between him and his maker.”
The question came to mind after our meeting. What matters when it is your last day? What separates us, we the people of the world. Class, political power, social standing, none of this matters when each one of us comes to meet the reaper. When our organs fail and our body stops working for our soul, what then? Now, whether you look at it from a scientific view or a religious one, each one of us will return to the earth and fertilize the flowers. There is only one thing that matters..PEOPLE. Te richness gauge in one’s own life is the amount of people who will weep for you when you die. How many people’s lives have you touched? How many people’s lives are better because they have had you or have you in it? I apologize to the people who may read this and think it is void of feeling or religion. That is by design. I can sit here and hypothesize about the religious aspects of the hereafter. I can say that God, whom ever that is you, will take you in his arms at the time of your death and deliver you to the pearly gates of heaven. But I only have faith that some form of that idea will happen. It’s been what I have been taught and what I believe. But have yet to meet someone who has gone and come back and told me what to expect.
The people in your life makes the memories. They make the events the things to think about later in life. Children help. They are with you all the time. Most people have thier “person”. That one person in your life you can tell anything to without fear of judgement. Whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a brother of sister, that person is the one you will think about and yearn for when the chips are down and you are looking at the end of the road. So before that time, if you already have not, find that one person whom that connection means more than all others. Enrich your life with people. Family, friends, coworkers, these are the dollar signs, the substance to the lifelong picture album in your mind. unless you fill it with pictures, all you will be left with at te end are a lot of books read and reruns watched. So please, let there be more than just reruns!