Wednesday, May 6, 2015

dreams for my parents

this last week one of my closest friends received some unfathomable news. her father who had been experiencing a series of unexplained symptoms was officially diagnosed with ALS. in one simple sentence from a doctor, life as she knew it altered completely.

i have watched her over the last week go through emotion after emotion. how could this amazing man who had raised her and loved her and been a pillar of strength for her for so many years now come to this? he is fighting a disease to which there is no cure and they are faced with a reality that looks nothing like what they had imagined. it is absolutely heartbreaking to watch.

as i have been walking through this experience with my sweet friend, i have been able to look at my own relationship with my parents in a new light. i understand in a new way that we are not guaranteed any amount of time with our family. there are certain things i want to make happen for as much time as i am given.

i want my parents nearby. this hasn't been an option for me until now but in one month my parents will be moving to the same town where i live. i haven't lived in the same town as my parents since my first year of college and i cannot wait to have them integrated into my daily life again. i have missed having them nearby.

i want my kids to truly know my parents. i grew up with my own maternal grandparents less than a mile away. they are so engrained in my childhood memories that i don't have one that does not include them or their influence. those memories are beyond precious and there is a storehouse of them that i will carry with me forever. my sweet grandmother passed away this last december and i cherish those memories more and more with each day that passes. i want those same sweet memories for my own children. they are beyond priceless.

i want our family memories to include more than just the seven of us. i love my crazy big family. my kids bring life and a golden chaos to our home. still, every holiday i wish i had more family in the celebrations. each life event, i want to share it with my extended family. i want my kids to remember christmases and birthdays with their grandparents. i want them to remember trips we took together and life moments we all celebrated. i also want them to remember everyday laughs with my dad and  lessons with my mom. i want my parents ingrained in my children's lives.

i want my parents to enjoy this season. i don't know about you but my parents have worked hard...really hard. their entire adult lives have been spent working, raising us, supporting us, caring for their own parents, looking after grandkids. they have put their time in and they deserve to enjoy this season. i want to supply them with grandkid time and adult time. i want them to get out and share moments together. i want them to get to enjoy looking around at what they have accomplished. i want them to be happy.

i don't want to take any of it for granted. i have had four close friends lose a parent in the years we have lived here in the charlotte area. i have watched their pain and i can't even imagine experiencing the loss of someone i love so much. i am watching another friend suffer now and it is beyond excruciating. my heart breaks for them. i know that life can change in a moment and i want to take advantage of every moment i have with my family. i want to cherish the years we have together. however much time we have together, i don't want to take it for granted.

there is no way that i can take the pain away from my friend as she walks through this time with her mom and dad. i wish i could change things. i wish i could erase the disease in his body. i wish i could make it all go away. i simply cannot. when i look at them, though, i see a family that managed to do so much of what i dream. they are not just close in proximity, they are close in the heart. they have built memories together and done life together for many years. they have loved each other well and have cherished the moments together. when it is all said and done, there is nothing sweeter.

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