“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible, the kind of atmosphere found in a nurturing family.” ~ Virginia Satir
Since we have been in Dayton, OH for the past couple of weeks visiting Terry’s parents, I thought I would write about interesting sights, particularly after visiting Carillon Historical Park with the folks. Dayton seems to get a bad rap, never making it to the top “whatever” list that I frequently see on the internet. After visiting the Carillon Park museum and the wonderful job done depicting the history of Dayton, it deserves some attention. Dayton has long been one of the country’s leading producers of patents. The list of inventions is long, the airplane, artificial heart and kidney machine, and cash register, just to name a few. Although I found Dayton to be interesting, I want to go in another direction for this post.
When we are in Ohio my thoughts are drawn to the quality time spent with family and friends and how much more enriched I am for having had spent the time here. Why does reading or writing about feelings and emotions make so many of us uncomfortable? I believe because it forces us to take pause; it is the proverbial mirror held up in front of us.
As most of us grow older, I believe we have come to realize the importance of family and friends. I have been so very blessed to have had an anam cara, my “soul friend” Barbara, who I could share my deepest thoughts with, and her with me. She passed away March 15th of this year, and although I still miss her terribly, I have such treasured memories of our times together. Because of her deteriorating health, whenever we were together, we spoke of our feelings for each other. There was never any doubt for either of us. One of my most vivid memories, whenever my visit ended, was for Barb to have her husband Pete put her arms around me for a hug when she was no longer capable of doing this for herself. This always invoked a lot of tears and that hug said much that words could not express. To this day, if I shut my eyes, I still feel that embrace, warm as the sun on a beautiful spring day.
So I have asked myself, as many of us do, why does it take knowing that our life here is growing short for us to take the bold step to speak from our heart? Why don’t we do this on a regular basis, for none of us knows how long we are here? I find that as I grow older, I feel more of a sense of urgency to step out of my comfort zone, take a risk and speak out, to quiet that little voice in my head that says “hurry, because time is fleeting”.
Like so many others, I had the misfortune of losing my mother at an early age and had an estranged relationship with my father. I have been deeply blessed to have found beautiful replacements for both with Terry’s parents. I am thankful to have learned the importance of embracing the time we have together and trying (not always successfully) to overlook the little things that tend to try one’s patience. As we look back over time, isn’t it the “little things” we remember when our loved ones are gone? It’s not so much the bike as it is the memory of being taught how to ride the bike. It is not the dress, but the loving hands that sewed the dress.
We have not done much since our time in Dayton that would prompt taking pictures to post in a blog. We did lots that will leave those pictures in our minds and imprints on our hearts. Meals shared together, painting birdhouses, trimming branches, shopping for groceries, running errands, and taking dad to a doctor appointment were the highlights. These are the “little things” that hopefully have helped them in small ways. Watching Terry and his mother reminisce as they sorted through old family photos was touching.
Our friend Doug, who recently lost his mother and wrote a heartwarming poem as a tribute to her, which became part of her eulogy, said his new mantra is “no regrets”. A good mantra for us all to follow.
I came across this quote from an anonymous source the other day that seems very fitting:
“Present your family and friends with their eulogies now – they won’t be able to hear how much you love them and appreciate them from inside the coffin.”
In this hustle-and-bustle world we live in, it can become easy to take for granted the bonds we have formed with those we love the most. We can sometimes forget the importance of showing them, in little ways, how much we appreciate them, how much they touch our hearts. Let’s take time for the little things.