I was forwarded this today in an email and it really touched me.
I grew up in the 50's with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.
Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress Things we keep.
It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence.. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.
Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... while we have it... it's best we love it.... and care for it... and fix it when it's ! broken.......... and heal it when it's sick.
This is true. for marriage..... and old cars.... and children with bad report cards..... and dogs with bad hips.... and aging parents..... and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.
There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special....... and so, we keep them close!
When I read this, it made me think about my grandparents. My grandma and grandpa didn't throw anything away. After they died and we spent some time going through some of their things, we found nail clippers that were rigged so they would still work (as opposed to going out and spending $2.50 on new nail clippers) and yard tools that my grandpa had used an old broom handle in place of the original handle that had broken. It was really quite amazing what we found.
Then I found myself thinking about my father. He is so very ill and has been for a number of years. He is the most amazing man on this Earth, at least I think so. He loves life so much and his body has been trying to kill him for the last 20 years. But he won't let it. He has pulled through so many grave situations where the doctors told us he wouldn't make it and he did it again just recently. A few weeks ago, he became ill with Ecoli. We all have it in our bodies but he has polycystic disease and his liver is full of cysts. Recently, a few very large cysts on his liver burst and released Ecoli into his body. His heart only ever functions at about 15 - 20% so the infection in his body and the drugs they needed to give him to kill the infection was literally killing his heart. His heart was stopping multiple times a day and they gave him a 2 - 10% chance of making through a 24 hour period. Of course, he once again beat the odds and came home. He is quite depressed though, like I've never seen him before. He is getting tired of constantly having to battle and beat death. He is getting tired. This poem really made me think about him and I need to be ever so diligent and making sure I keep him close and make sure he knows how much he is loved.
I don't know how much time I have left with my dad, every day is a gift. I hope that I can use each day to the fullest extent of that gift I have been given.