[private] Someone I know recently received a telephone call. “Your brother is dead,” the voice on the other end of the line said. Dead? How could this be? She had just seen him a few hours earlier, even kissed him goodnight as he headed out the door. He had died in an automobile accident. No goodbyes, no final hug, just a simple devastating phone call, and he was gone.
Have you ever lost a loved one and wanted one more conversation? One more hour or one more day to tell them how much you loved them? I have pondered this for a long time, and finally decided to put my thoughts on paper and share them. I bet many of you have wondered about the same thing.
If I could, I would like to spend one more day with my grandfather. It has been over five decades since our last day together. My grandfather dreamed of me becoming a Steamship Captain. If I were able to see him again I would start off with a very long hug. We’d go for a walk along the beach, where I would apologize for not becoming a Steamship Captain. But, I would tell him that I became a different kind of captain; an educator who tried to help young people identify their educational goals and pursue their dreams. I would tell him that my grandmother, his wife, lived a long, long life (she survived him by more than two decades) and was comfortable at the end. My grandfather was my pal. I would tell him that I missed him very much and that I never knew how much, until after he was gone. I would introduce him to my wife, his great grandchildren, and his great, great grandchildren – of which I am the proudest. You know, I believe he would be very proud of me too. But above all, I would tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. When my grandfather was alive we planted trees together on our homestead in West End. He literally spent most of his final days watching me grow and learn and I never had the privilege to tell him how much I appreciated all the time he spent with me. Now I am a grandfather, and spending time with my own grandchildren means more to me than words can describe. As I watch them grow and learn I always remember the days spent with grandpa, as I called him. Oh how I wish I could turn back the clock and relive just one more day, even just one more hour with that dear old man. What an incredibly blessed time that would be.
Recently I read an article about this very subject. What I came away with was that when it comes to those we miss, the ordinary is most precious. We may fantasize about a perfect day, something incredible or distant, but the routine is what we actually treasure most. We seem to prefer one more familiar meal, one more enchanted sunset, even one more familiar argument with that departed loved. Perhaps we would ask questions that we longed to have answered. But I believe most of us would just take the opportunity to express the love we feel and the longing that has haunted us for so long.
My grandpa was a visionary; most of what he did was for posterity. That stands in stark contrast to today’s ideology. We used to do things for posterity and now it seems we do things for ourselves and leave the bill to posterity. I have always tried to emulate him in this regard. He was a great role model.
As we celebrate the most joyous of seasons this year, let’s be especially grateful for the loved ones still in our midst. You never know when, or how soon they will be taken from us.
And finally, may you all have the spirit of Christmas, which is peace. The gladness of Christmas, which is hope. And the heart of Christmas, which is love. Have a blessed Christmas everyone, and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year. [/private]