Two weeks ago my father suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. That is the type of stroke that strikes in the brain. He still is in the hospital. Thankfully he is a very strong man who has lived a full life. He is a survivor of the Great Depression, a veteran of World War II, and father of seven children. But it’s devastating to see him laying there in a hospital bed almost completely unable to speak and requiring help to just get up. The worst part for my father is that he knows what he’s lost and it frustrates him.
As you can already guess this has been a very difficult time for me and my family. I’ve just been going through the motions, doing the bare minimum each day. At night when I normally write and work on my weekly updates for Write Now I have been watching TV, a lot of TV because I just want to take a break from everything.
Yesterday I was able to get out for a run and I was listening to an old playlist that I just chose at random. About a half mile into my run Kris Allen’s Live Like We’re Dying comes on. It’s a song that I’ve always connected with because I have tried to live my life in the moment. But I realized as I was listening to him sing that this last year I really haven’t lived like I wanted to.
When I turned 31, just before I went to basic training, I sat down with my father to record his story about World War II. It wasn’t complete and I still have questions that need to be filled in. And this is the thought I keep having when I’m with my father, “why didn’t I get up there in the last five years to talk with him more?” Granted one of those years I was in another country, but there was certainly time in between. Life is so fragile and in a moment the world that we have created can be shattered.
A month ago I was visiting with a close friend of mine that I was in Iraq with. We were discussing his life plans. He was telling me about how he is continuing in school through the PhD level. After all that schooling he plans on working until retirement age and then he wants to travel. Even talking then I asked why wait so long to do what you want in life. He really didn’t have an answer. It’s not his fault it’s simply the life that American society is being fed right now.
The truth is the life we believe is so concrete is all just built upon our own created illusions. Living without regrets is the key. Not looking back and getting discouraged and not looking forward to create an ideal that will discourage if it doesn’t happen. Living now in this moment. I know that I should be living like that but it’s difficult. Right now I know the most important thing is to be with my father as much as I can and help my family in what they need. I can see that when family and friends come to visit my father and share their love with him it is a great boon for him. It connects him in love and strength and it is my belief that this in turn has helped to strengthen him and keep him from getting too discouraged.
In my own life it’s time to ask what connections with friends and family have been neglected and how can they be strengthened? It’s time to shut the TV off and get back to work and let go of what wasn’t done and concentrate on what can be done today not tomorrow.