encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

The Gradual Shock

When it first shows, we either deny it, embrace it, or cover it.

The off-white ceramic tile floor held tables, chairs, and persons. New, round tables were dotted with various beverages and paper plates of colourful food. Emotions varied according to each person’s experience, connection and memories. Laughter peeled through the community room; so did sniffles and polite nose blowing.

Unlike family reunions, yet actually similar, are funerals. Saying good-bye isn’t like the hellos of a fam-jam, yet the gathering is similar in the way a lot of people haven’t seen each other for a number of years.

I sat with a coffee, and a rumpled tissue pushed under one eye then the other. The acoustic guitar tribute got me. I noticed not just me. Afterward, I watched mostly well dressed feet going in purposeful directions on the clean floor. Some headed back to food and beverage tables, other strode to greet people who had nearly become strangers.

I recognized many, and the surprise was subdued, because people grow older, I know. Nonetheless, it grows where a once proclaimed illusion of never ending youth is taken for granted. The gradual shock of grey hair.

The shock got the spirals of my long lost friend’s rock and roll pride. The grey strands mingled with intrusiveness in his soft brown length. Bit by bit, some were tentatively welcoming maturity. Others, years behind my age, the gradual shock left them entirely white. Silver graced the crowns of many, working its way to temples and tips. The gradual shock is a respecter of no one.

How did we all get this old? We’re only in our fifties.

I mingled, my silver stripes demoting me from childhood golden locks. My peers silently brought me to a realization this February: it’s okay to look older. It’s all right to let the gradual shock cajole me into aging gracefully.

Funerals are the celebration of lives lived. Weddings, a celebration of lives joined. Both of these events demonstrate how time waits for no one, starting with matrimony; babies, grown children, then funerals of parents, and next our friends….

I observed. I said good-bye. I cried. I viewed photos. I mingled. I hugged. I laughed.

I wondered how it is going to be for me.

Thanks for reading.

Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Imagination is a Powerful Force

“Your time will come,” he said. “Don’t you worry,” he added, while cupping my shoulder with his hard-working yet gentle hand.

I was only about 13 when I had the conversation with my dad that I wanted to be a mom and a wife when I grew up. I wanted to live in a cute little home where I felt safe, and I had a deep down undeniable drive to nurture a family. I worried then that my adult life wouldn’t be a good match for me, hence that heart-to-heart with my dad that day long ago. I was perhaps lost in a fantasy of sorts—too many Little House on the Prairie episodes—and a secret crush on Michael Landon. I wanted a husband who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, a man who would love his kids and wife, a man who was good-looking in that cute, honest sort of way; tender and sweet with wide shoulders built by hard work rather than a gym membership. My kids would look up to me, I thought, because I’d teach them morals and values of kindness and honesty.

Dad passed over to the other side nearly 17 years ago, and still, I remember so much of what he told me. Despite a wrong choice and a divorce, about 22 years ago I started to believe that my time would come. I had difficulty imagining it to be true even though, somehow, someway, the things Dad said were always with much foresight on his part. So I dreamed, I hoped, imagined, I dated.

I woke early one Sunday morning and sat under the gazebo on our deck in the rain. Hubby was out walking as it turned out, after my search for him at that early hour. No lights lit up windows of neighbours’ homes, no feet carried boisterous teens home after a Saturday night party. On the road, no vehicles splashed through puddles, not even a dog wandered. It was dark and wet with no mysterious stars or illuminated moon to gaze at, and eerily quiet, yet beautiful. After many years, that morning I remembered my dad saying that my turn would come. I wish he were here so I could tell him he was right again. He was humble, always smiled with his eyes and nodded when I told him he was right about something. I miss that. But he knew I’d find my way. Sometimes I seem to sort of “float out” of myself and I see someone’s home, caring hubby, well-rounded kids and toddler grandchildren. It’s good to float out once in a while, makes things sink in, and negative thoughts slip away. And I thought to myself… my dad, wherever he is in the universe, in a heavenly place, is smiling with his eyes and nodding.

The imagination must be one powerful force; dreaming without giving up must be potent. Quiet time brings about gratefulness. Thanks to God or my guardian angel for taking notes from my adolescent desires—that morning was full of tender memories.