Life is short.
It’s a thought that’s surfaced many times in the past few weeks. The older I get, the reality of that statement hits closer to home.
When I lost my dad many years ago, the one thing I regretted was that I never got to tell him “I love you” one more time.
All the analyzing and thinking through the details of his last hours here on earth will never change the fact that I didn’t make it to the hospital in time to say my last good-bye.
I’ve made peace with the fact that some things are just out of our hands and no matter how you may wish for something, there’s just no “do overs”.
I also want to learn from that part of my life.
I want to work towards a life filled with good-byes without regrets.
The fact is, none of us really knows when the last good-bye will ever be.
Day to day life can be both routine and crazy. In the busyness of it all, sometimes I have to stop to remember the precious people that God has put in my life, and to make an effort to let them know how special they are ~ while I still have time to tell them.
I don’t want to one day look back and say, “I wish I would have said…”
Which brings me to a few days ago.
As you know, when a family grows and grows, it becomes more and more difficult to ever find an occasion when every single one of you can get together at the same time and place.
But, miracle of all miracles, it happened!
Work schedules were adjusted, grand kids flew in, road trips were made, and plans were finalized.
For a few precious hours, every single one of my husband’s family was in the same place at the same time. There was laughter and talking, organizing and eating, and walking and relaxing in beautiful Banff, Alberta.
There was a special reason for it, too.
It was her heart’s desire that the family all get together.
And each of us moved heaven and earth to make it happen for one reason.
We love her.
As I sat in the car yesterday on the way home, I was pondering her.
She’s a reader of my blog, but confessed that she doesn’t get to it as often these days. Instead, she spends lots of time researching cancer treatments. Cancer is the beast she’s fighting these days.
She’s approaching it with the same spunk and fervor that she has always approached life.
None of us really knows what the days and months ahead will bring. Right now she walks with a spring in her step and is living each day to the fullest ~ and will soon be taking a dream trip with her husband and one of her sons.
The truth is, I met each of the siblings in this family (and most of their spouses) while I was in college ~ never dreaming that one day I’d have the privilege of being a part of their family. We have history and stories that go way back. And, honestly, I feel so blessed to be a part of it.
We may still have many, many years ahead together, but regardless of the future, I thought there was no time like the present to write my mother-in-law a letter. Here it is:
Thank you for passing around the salad till it was gone, and for perfecting the art of speed jello.
Thank for lovingly preparing (countless times) my boys’ all-time favorite meal ~ Grandma’s perogies with farmer’s sausage, strawberry sauce, and cream gravy.
Thank you for teaching me how to make lasagna, waffle sauce, buns, and for helping me to laugh when I tried to bake my first ham with the plastic wrap still on.
Thank you for teaching us that if we work together, we can tackle any job- no matter how awful – and “quickly get it done”!
But more than anything, thank you for raising the boy who would one day be my husband. Thank you for caring for him, teaching him, and for guiding him to Jesus. Thank you for teaching him that doing dishes, cooking dinner, and taking out the garbage weren’t jobs for women only.
Thank you for demonstrating that no matter how long you’re married, you should still kiss in the kitchen.
And thank you for loving your son so much, you welcomed me into the family and accepted me as your daughter-in-love.
Mom, my life has been made so much richer because you are in it. You are living out what you’ve taught us all ~ that when the storms of life get tough, we need to hold on to Jesus.
And now, even though I haven’t taken a survey or called a family meeting, I can say with great authority that you are so loved ~
By us all.