Friday, September 23, 2016

7 years on...

I'm generally not one to dwell on the past, but today I'll make a bit of an exception, as it's been seven years since we lost my dad. I couldn't fall asleep last night, as I couldn't stop thinking about 2:23 a.m., which was when the phone rang and everything changed. Funny how our minds work.

Anniversaries, of course, don't change anything. They don't fill the yawning gap or take you back to those "before" days, when we simply didn't know any better and didn't - or wouldn't allow ourselves to - think about what lay ahead. They don't change the varied directions our lives have taken since.

Nor should they. If I've learned anything in the ensuing 7 years - and after my wife lost her mom - is that we have virtually no control over life-wrenching events. We can't stop them from happening in the first place, and we can't spend every day thereafter pining for what we did or did not do beforehand, during, afterward, or for what might have been. Regret means precious little, as does the concept of closure. For there is none.

Life can be ugly at times. It tests us, it drains us, it leaves us wondering what might have been. But it's also insanely beautiful if we allow it to be. It connects us, gives us moments of indescribable joy and accomplishment, and gives us the opportunity to spread all that goodness to those around us, to take what we've learned and make it live beyond ourselves.

It is, in a sense, the only thing we've got. We get one chance at it, with no returns, no give-backs, no sense of what else there might be. We take what we can, absorb as much as possible from the experience, and cherish the fact that we had that experience in the first place. We have no right to ask for anything more.

So rather than simply marking another sad milestone in a series of sad milestones, I thought I'd try to find some new way to grow from an experience none of us ever wants but all of us must experience in some way. I can't change what's happened because that's how life is supposed to work. You don't get people back.

What you do get is a responsibility to somehow apply those lessons forward. If I somehow carry what I learned in that house on Canterbury Street through today, tomorrow and every day in my own home, my own family, my own life, then perhaps that yawning gap of a life ended won't feel quite as yawning after all.

It isn't much, but it'll have to do.


fredamans said...


Tabor said...

This is such a good idea for making sure that mourning the loss of a loved one does not hold us up but spurs us on to keep that love in our living world.

Peg Cherre said...

I got that horrid phone call 15+ years ago when my husband of 24 years died suddenly. There is no doubt my life is very different than it would have been had he lived. But I've done my best to make it count, to honor his gentleness and humor, to live in a way that makes me and those around me happy.

Gilly said...

You OK over there, Carmi? I hope your absence from your blog and thematic photos is because you are busy, and not for any other unhappy reasons? We've missed you!

Gilly said...

Carmi, I'm quite worried about you! No posting on your blog, no Thematic Photos, I'm sure you are very busy and I'm just being a pest, but I do hope your silence has no unhappy reasons.

I hesitate to email you, as I don't want to interfere in any way with your work, or get confused with a journalist! (used to be a stringer for my local paper, and do quite a lot, but that was a long time ago, and as far as my journalistic career every went!!)