June 22, 2009
I was at a wedding reception a few years ago where possibly the world's worst deejay was playing. Gathered in the hall were the closest family and friends of the bride and groom. On the (theoretically) happiest day of their lives, the deejay chose to play a song from the band the Flaming Lips that was popular at the time – 'Do You Realize' which contains the following lyrics:
Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
As well as the following gem:
It's hard to make the good things last
It's not an appropriate song choice when the happy couple are surrounded by their loved ones and are supposed to be celebrating their new life together.
Unfortunately, the Flaming Lips are right. One day everyone you know will be dead. Not only that, one day, everyone alive right now will be dead. I was reminded of these sad truths recently when my grandmother-in-law died suddenly. One weekend, she visited with us for May Long Weekend at our house. The next weekend, she was gone. Family rushed to Hamilton to take care of the funeral arrangements. I miss Oma and all the kindnesses she shared. I break down when I get to thinking about my own parents and how much I will miss them when that time inevitably comes.
But it destroys me and I have trouble writing about the ache in my chest when I think about my son, Jacob. I sit on the edge of his bed where he lies curled up, tiny on the big frame. His lips are slightly parted and he breathes quietly in his sleep. I put my hand on his four-year old chest and feel his rapid heartbeat. It is then that my eyes fog and my throat chokes and my heart aches. To think that one day, he will be gone, is the saddest thing I can imagine. Selfishly, I hope that I won't be around to see that.
I've thought about it many times and every time I get upset about it. Maybe I'm too sentimental. Every day he's changing – leaving behind aspects of his toddlerhood and becoming more and more a little boy. He'll say words properly that before he mispronounced or now he'll be able to reach the soap to wash his hands. Already, he pushes for more independence when I try to help him get milk from the fridge or pickup a box of toys. It bothers me to say these goodbyes to all the charming little things he does and says and to see the inevitable loss of innocence as he grows up.
Ultimately, the Flaming Lips had it right in their song. They sing:
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
It's a song about living in the moment and treasuring the people that are important to us, NOW. Deep down, we all know this truth that we are all running out of time and that we can lose those we love at any time. Old age, accident, disease – none of us can escape them. Finding a way to transcend the everyday and tell our family and friends how much they mean – that is our challenge. It's a difficult one for me. With my son, I try to treat him the best I can everyday and tell him I love him because I don't know how many more sunrises I have with him.