Saturday, December 11, 2010
50 years on...
My parents were married 50 years ago tonight. If it's a bittersweet milestone for me, it's certainly more than that to my mother. Every time I see 50th anniversary notices in the paper - amazing, people still put these notices in newspapers, but that'll be something to discuss another day - I cringe a little for everyone who fell a little short, for whom time ran out.
I've heard so many empty phrases from so many well-meaning people in the 14+ months since we lost my dad. Life goes on. Time heals. As you return to life's routine. As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I admit they make me cringe a little. But here's the thing: There is no right thing to say. Come to think of it, there's no wrong thing either. Those folks who get it are the ones who are there for you, in the day-to-day, long after the newspaper pages with the cliched comments printed on them have turned yellow.
I wish my parents had been given 50 years. But like all things related to life and death, we don't have much choice in the matter. I can either mourn the fact that they didn't make it to the arbitrary 50, or I can celebrate the fact that they had almost-49, and in that time accomplished some amazing things. They led a life that mattered, and left behind a legacy that anyone just setting out on the marital journey would love to have. Indeed, 18 years into my own marriage, I wish to have as much impact in my life as my parents had in theirs.
Whatever the end result, it won't be defined by an arbitrary, final number. It'll be defined by what we do with the time we've been given. And I'm thankful that because of what happened 50 years ago tonight, fate decided I'd be granted at least some chance to give it my best shot. That I've been given any time at all is a blessing.
Your turn: Making the most out of the time we've been given. Please discuss.