Today is a bittersweet day. My cousins and I will gather to lay one of our own to rest this afternoon. Mom is not coming, I’m sure, due to her limited vision and hearing. It’s a very windy day today, and the Omaha National Cemetery will have even more wind. It just seems wrong to be grieving one of our own so soon. Sure, some of us are in our late sixties, but we’re hanging on. Truth be told, it’s amazing we are still all alive. When you think of accidents, illnesses, we have been fortunate. It is a whole different feeling to bid farewell to someone without our older generations present.
We have become the older generation, right now. How did that come to pass? It seems like I was babysitting younger cousins not too long ago. I suppose fifty years has gone by quickly for them, too. Looking back, it didn’t take long at all. We are parents, grandparents, partners, workers, who were all raised with a good work ethic, a sense of law and order, and concern for our fellow humans. I can only hope the children we all have will make the world a better place for all of our grandchildren. It’s quite poignant when you think of it. Our grandparents felt much the same sixty years ago.
Before the service, cousins and I talked about how old all the little kids were, and how dare they all grow up. We truly are the next group in the rotation. Those little kids have kids, and they’re not so little anymore. That’s what families do – they sometimes grow apart, they lose touch, and reacquaint during days like these.
Somber. Sad. Sober. But paying tribute to a man who, as a very young man, made a promise to his country, and kept that promise beyond anything else in his life at that time. I’m grateful to have been a part of his life as a kid, and I marvel at the beautiful carpentry work he could do as a grown man. He was a dad, a grandpa, a brother to his sister and brother, a son to his parents. The three of them will reunite in heaven.
His family has the loss, the empty chair to deal with at holiday dinners, the extra Christmas stocking to hang or not hang, the pictures to divide up. Cherish your people. Take photos. Apologize. Even if they were wrong, apologize. Reconcile while you still are able. Don’t let it be too late.
Clinging to a mistake, just because it took a long time to make it, is just not a good thing to do. Sure, it’s uncomfortably comfortable, you know what to expect, you don’t risk anything. Well, except your life, your future, your happiness. Breaking out of a bad place to stay is courageous. It’s to be admired. It’s unnerving to witness if you think your life is comfortable. When you leave the comfort of your life for the unknown, it is scary. Scary good and bad at the same time. Persistence and tenacity is what wins out. Over thirty years ago, I made an unpopular decision and divorced my first husband. We were married eleven and a half years. The last year and a half, I was very unhappy, unfulfilled, and felt unloved, more like the help than the wife.
I found out I wasn’t wrong. I made a mistake in marrying so young, and for picking the person I did. I believe that is the kindest way to put it. I outgrew him. He was contented at 31, to be who he was then, for the rest of his life. I felt stuck in a story I didn’t write, living a life that I didn’t really choose. I needed to grow and learn more than I knew. It was the best thing I ever did. Yes, I made mistakes. My kids and I were happy. We worked hard. We laughed a lot. I worried a lot about money and all of that, but it worked out. And we’re still standing.
I was very fortunate to find someone who is a fine man. He is smart, experienced in life, and has a loving presence that reveals how much caring he does for those around him. He is very motivated to do a good job at whatever he tries. We fit very well together. Timing was everything in our lives, to meet when we did. And God was good to both of us to put us together.
We are in the last third of our lives. Maybe less than that, maybe the last fourth. It matters a lot these days how we spend those we have left, for however long we have them. Enjoyment and happiness trump drudgery and misery any time. Break out. Find some help, it’s out there. Don’t stay just because you’re afraid. That’s exactly why you shouldn’t. No one should have to be afraid. Ever.
Today, Begin! Start towards a different path. Go a different way, learn something new. This is a perfect time to start. And keep going. I’m with you. Many will be right behind you. Just go for it.
Thank you for taking time to read today. I appreciate it so much. I will blog much earlier tomorrow, as we all begin a long weekend, the last holiday of summer. I’m ready for jeans and hoodies. How about you? Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Courteous, Be Civil.
And, Richard John Wheeler, Sr., RIP, Semper Fi!