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Woke up to find the sky overcast and dreary, felt blue until I though about my friend. He’s in Respite care, fading fast from this life. He is drudged so he sleeps a lot. My husband has known this man for sixty years, I have known him for about fifteen. We paid a visit to him yesterday, we have been visiting him in care for a while now, but not while in respite, he just went in two days ago and is fading fast. That visit got me to thinking. WHAT IS LIFE ABOUT? Do we simply go through the motions as the years pass and then end up in the confines of a hospital bed to fade out under heavy sedation?
I recall the room he was in, five family members in attendance and more on the way. We were the only friends at that time, but we know one was turning back from a road trip, three days drive away to return to visit a passing friend, another would be by later in the day. So that made one in my count of what was important- FAMILY and FRIENDS.
Oddly the man passing away never married, yet his family circle was large. People in our community who know him and know of my husband’s nearly life long friendship have often asked how our friend is faring. This happens a lot. Our friend was a big part of the community. In his younger years he was a milk man who delivered milk to homes the old school way, then a Fire Chief, an auxiliary police man, a Cadet leader, as well as working in the local grocery. He goes a long way back in the community, and is well respected and liked. So that brings me to the second in my count- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT. Our friend’s work in his community will live well after he has gone. Even the local Museum has proof of it, in the form of countless photos where he is prominent.
Our friend never harmed another, was kind and generous and helpful. He supported youth even if it meant in the form of encouragement, sometimes financial. He lived his life well, thinking of the possible consequences of his actions, thinking of others often before himself. He had a quick sense of humor, and up until a year and a half or so ago, visited the local A&W early, at six, to have coffee with the old timers from town, including my husband. They had a lot of laughs together often telling stories about the old days. This brings me to number three in my count- A LIFE WELL LIVED- volunteer, be involved, make a history with the place you call home and do no harm.
As we sat by his bed side I understood clearly that he could take nothing with him when he went, nothing that is, but the love of the people who were in the room with him and the love of those he touched in his life. His car, parked nearby at his assisted living place, was useless to him now. He had not driven it for nearly seven months. His bank account was doing him no good, nor were the awards for service he kept in his room. These are only things, tangible of course, and evidence that he had done well. But the more powerful evidence, from my point of view were the people in the room with him and the ones on their way, evidence far less tanglible. This man will be greatly missed, he touched many lives.
Life is about love and those we love. Take a moment each day, actually take lots of them, to appreciated those you love, after all, in the end it’s all that truly matters.