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.

12 comments:

positive affirmation said...

Uplifting friends, reaching out
I make new uplifting friends wherever I go and know that I am never alone. As i reach out to others they reach out to me.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

Living on borrowed time, as I do these days reminds me that life is a gift. And the medication I take every day, makes another day possible. As I approach 45 with hiv, I am reaching a new plateau in the living of life that doctors are still stymied over. It has been almost 20 years for me and I am still breathing, thank the creator.

It's hard to explain to normal people, the importance of every day and making the best of it.

You have a constant theme that runs through your life - that of family. You have a true gift and you share it and you give it space to thrive.

Simple but ... Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.

A teacher once told me that and it sticks in my brain.

I don't know how much longer I have to live, but if I don't focus on the end, I try to live each day at a time. But those thoughts are looming in my field of vision lately. I hope its only a short phase I am going through.

The pills are working and as long as the numbers are nominal I don't worry about dying. But it is there just behind my eyes and it peeks out every once in a while.

Put one foot in front of the other and make count every moment you have because you never know...

Knocks on wood ...

Jeremy

Alexia said...

Much as I honour the people who reach those magic round figures, I really think that you have got it right when you say "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."

18 years is admirable; 49 years is no less astonishing than 51. We need to do the best with whatever time we are given.
:)

Chibi Janine said...

I feel for you loosing your father, I lost mine when I was 11. Death is a hard lesson at any age, now I have the fear of my mums partner time with her as he is having some major health problems. Time dosn't heal it just lessons the rawness. Remember the joys of the person you miss and try to go on with life.

Tabor said...

This post is very insightful. I especially love that last paragraph where you tie it all together.

... Paige said...

I'm sorry about your Dad.

Time is only a minute by which we mark greatness, each one greater than the last, yet the next one will be better for it still holds a great mystery

thanks for the visit over at my place...yes it's been a very long while

Anne said...

Thanks for this post...I agree with you that numbers are meaningless. It's how the years were lived that counts, not how many. Living life fully is what it's all about...

I'm sorry about your dad's passing.

Sandy said...

As always, your words are so meaningful. I am so fortunate to have known your parents for so many of those years, and treasure the memories of your dad.

lakeviewer said...

Carmi, your reverie is a testament to their strength and love and mission in life. You do them proud by passing on their core beliefs. I hope my husband and I make it to our 50th, a few years from now. We are lucky to have survived so far.

I left my parents' house when I was seventeen and saw them only once more before their died. Their lives live in me, in my children, in my grandchildren, through our actions, our character, our stories we pass on.

Karen S. said...

There is a perfect quote you bring to my mind that I will twist a bit...seems fitting...Life is not measured by the number of years we have.....BUT by our living it, and creating a vast number of memories along our journey. That's why to me it's so perfect when I read old letters or journals of loved ones, from their past whether to me or whoever, it plants images of loved ones within my soul! Great post Carmi!...hmmmm you are certainly on family this week aren't you? Well it is always in your heart!

Serendipity said...

Well said!

rennratt said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I am thrilled that your parents had so many years together, but sorry it couldn't have been longer.

I was told four years ago that my illness could kill me 'pretty much when it felt like it'; the medication to improve my health is not without its own terrible side effects. I am learning, as time passes, to care less what people think of me (and my choices) and more about what my choices can do FOR others (rather than TO them.)