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The old saying, “The best things in life are free” is a great saying. Art Buchwald once said, “the best things in life aren’t things.”
I love that even more.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, reminiscing and otherwise reflecting this past week. I’ve been thinking about my family, about my father who died 13 years ago this March 16th and my sister who I wish I got to speak to more often than I do. I thought about all the Easters growing up and how my parents would dress up in our matching outfits and take us to church. After church, we’d go to Cedar Crest for breakfast before heading home and opening our carefully constructed Easter baskets.
My mother would get the candy from Priscilla’s Candy Shop in downtown Lawrence, MA and she would decorate and adorn those baskets, so they looked like a professional did them. My parents always got a mixture of our favorite candies and included some of their favorites too. We’d dig through the fake grass searching for a chocolate covered egg or some malted milk balls. My father liked the jelly beans, and mom was a fan of the Peeps.
Gosh, I miss my dad — and my mom.
The funny thing, as I sat reminiscing, I once thought I didn’t have a great childhood growing up. We were not well off by most people’s standards, and my parents liked to argue and fight about everything. I struggled with being adopted and I wanted to rebel against everyone.
Thank God time has given me much-needed perspective and made me realize how wonderful and precious my childhood was. I have some wonderful memories growing up in that little ranch house on Lawrence Street.
All this caretaking, reminiscing and trying to hold onto these memories have left me both mentally and physically exhausted.
My mother hasn’t passed away yet as I thought she would have in December. Instead, she continues to linger and hold on. Watching this is torture as anyone who’s witnessed dementia knows first hand.
The other day she opened her eyes and said, “I’m tired, I’m ready for this to be over.” It was the most meaningful, coherent thing she has said in weeks. Most of the time, my mother can’t form a complete sentence, so when I heard this, needless to say, I was surprised.
None of us will understand how personal the death process is until we are faced with it ourselves. Just like being born, the death journey is ultimately one we make alone.
At some point, we turn away from the world and turn inward to ourselves because we know instinctually we have to cross over to where the next adventure awaits and leave all we know and love behind.
Maybe what I’m experiencing is what everyone goes through as they face the death of their last parent. I don’t know. But what I do know is I’m going to hold on tight to all the memories I have, everything else doesn’t matter. Because the best things in life, aren’t things.
Below is some good reads that highlight relationships and not things. I hope you all can take the time to focus on the important people in your life.
Have a great weekend friends, Maureen
Here are some worthwhile reads from around the web
Love People, Not Things – becoming minimalist writes, “People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world’s in chaos is because things are loved and people are used.”
20 Things To Start Doing In Your Relationships – Marc and Angel Hack Life want us to foster those special relationships we have in our lives. Maybe they’re family and maybe they’re not, but they are the special bond we have with those that matter.
Four Ways To Be A Great Friend – Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine, and her gal pal, MacKenzie from Bold Turquoise co-wrote an article about what it takes to be a great friend!
Simple Ways Reminders to Focus on What Matters In Life – Tiny Buddha points the painful truth that loss and change are woven into our lives, and we can’t escape it. It can be painful, and it pushes us into a greater understanding of what matters in life.
A Heart Filled with Love, Not Stuff – The New York Times, author Jenny Qi speaks about ridding herself of possessions and creating a life that feels more like her own.