On a recent visit to my parents, I came across this photo of them at their wedding, circa 1955. In some ways, they have changed little since this photo was taken. I can see their younger faces in their expressions today. And yet, time has changed them, as it changes us all.
Time, illness, life experience, joy, heartache; these are all elements that make up a life.
I am no more immune than they are. Than anyone of us is.
I have a choice. I can look at this photo and mourn what is lost, or I can look at it and celebrate the richness of the life they have had together for over 50 years.
Really, that's the only choice I have.
I can't stop my father's kidneys from silting in. I can't stop my mother's memories from eroding, piece by crumbling piece.
I can honor who they have been, and honor who they are now. It's not like we don't know that everyone dies, but we spend so much precious energy and time fighting against that knowing.
It seems like such a waste.
I was talking with my son's clarinet teacher yesterday. She's gone through with her parents what I am going through with mine. She shared with me her new mantra: "If not now, when?"
If not now, when.
Loss is all around us.
But so is gratitude. So is beauty.
What are you going to dwell on?
Decide. Start today. If not now, when?