A procession of clouds stretched across the horizon. New clouds continually came into view as others passed beyond my sight. It was shortly after my mother’s passing, and I was taking a plane trip. Gazing out the window, I gave some thought to my life. Letting my mind wonder I peered at the radiant sunshine, and the ground below, which at times resembled a patchwork quilt. The clouds were imbued with an effervescent glow as a hazy fog slowly crept across the sky. I was awestruck by nature, the mystery of creation, and how life and death are intertwined. We normally tend to think of life and death as opposites, but death is actually a natural progression in life. From an early age we are taught that death is a part of life, but many times we do not really come to grips with that idea until it directly affects us. Death certainly ends life, but it does not end our relationships with our loved ones. Our memories of them can sustain us through the rest of our lives.
The loss of a loved one can leave us with a gaping hole in our lives. Often, the pain of the moment can seem unbearable and overwhelming. The mourning process is natural. However, we would do a disservice to both ourselves and our loved ones if we allowed the loss we feel to dominate the rest of our lives. I believe our loved ones would want us to experience happiness, find meaning, and make the most of our lives. The loss of a loved one will always be a part of our journey, but loss need not sit in the driver’s seat.
We cannot drive looking in the rearview mirror, nor can we live focused on the past. By this I mean we cannot live each day carrying the burdens, anger, and sadness of yesterday. We must try to move forward with each new day. We can, of course, glance in the rearview mirror of life, as we do not want to erase the past. But our focus needs to be on the path ahead. In particular, we need to appreciate the quality of time we have with those family members and friends that still surround us. We do not want to have regrets that we did not spend ample time with them because we were consumed with living in the past. Memories that are so heart wrenching at first, will become deeply appreciated and dearly treasured over time. We must try and seize the moment. After all, that is all any of us are guaranteed. In the memorable words of Alice Morse Earle, “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.”
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