When we are little and start growing older, we create all kinds of futures for ourselves. As a young girl, I fantasized about a fairytale wedding, kids, a huge home, never worrying about money, always being my ideal weight, and thinking I would have my parents well into their golden years. Well, guess what? So many of those things came close, but close only counts in horseshoes. What I did get was a prince of a husband, two beautiful children, a house I will always refer to as home, enough money to provide for our family, and I got to know my parents as an adult. The dreams we have as children are just that, dreams. The rest is a day at a time!!
What I didn’t think about when I was younger was losing a parent before I even got to have children, burying three of my six brothers before they even got to see a glimpse of retirement, and burying a child before he got to get married or had children of his own (that I know of!). The positive here: I had two beautiful children, a daughter and a son, who grew up friends! I am so proud of that! They actually enjoyed doing things together and their friends were friends. It made for a lot of enjoyment! Don’t get me wrong, they had their moments. The relationship between my brothers, sister, and I was not a lot different than my children’s relationship. We had fun growing up. Still do, with those of us who are left! My sister refers to our household growing up as an amusement park! Never a dull moment… ever!! I don’t think my children would have called it that, but I think it was far from a bad rearing.
My memories of growing up are fond memories that I will never let go of. Same with memories of my children when they were little. I am sad that my dreams of seeing them both grow into adulthood and start families of their own was only realized by one of them, but as I found out early in life, there are no guarantees. I am thankful for the dreams that did come true! When things don’t go our way, we tend to forget all the things that did go right, or as wished! I hope to never forget to appreciate those moments.
Life can change in a moment’s notice. It is 22 months tomorrow that the unexpected happened, my son died!! He was only 24! I didn’t plan on it. It was not part of my dream at all. I had no plan laid out should I bury a child. I am guessing my mother didn’t either when she had to go through that, not once, but twice! My grandmother was 87 years old when she buried my dad at the age of 60!! I’m not sure she ever mentioned his name again. I asked my mother why she thought that was. My mother said that was because the thought of him being gone must have been very painful for her. But I wanted to talk about my dad after he died in 1990. It kept him alive for me!! Then my brothers in 1994 and 2002!! My mother in 2007. Then, another brother in 2009!! None of those were planned either. But, life can change in the blink of an eye. My mother had no plan going forward, just as I had to rewrite my future…again! What we do going forward should include those loved ones. Their mark should not end there, and neither should ours!!
Life can change for the better, or for worse. In 100 years, I won’t be here either. The only thing we can do is leave a mark that may be talked about generations later. Make them good ones. Be the positive in someone’s future that brings them strength and hope. The unexpected can happen, and does happen, every single day. The obituary section is full of unfulfilled dreams being laid to rest. But, in the lines of those obits is a story that saw dreams come true, children were born, successes were achieved, life was lived. I don’t want to plan a funeral, but want to fill a story book!! That will include stories of my son, my parents, my brothers, and a lot of other near misses that I at least had envisioned, even if not realized!
I am not a huge Miley Cyrus fan, but her song “The Climb” has got to be one of the best songs ever!!! I heard it the other day!! It is the climb!! It’s the climb out of despair, out of unfulfilled dreams, of plans that changed on a dime! I want to make my loved ones proud, all of them!! They didn’t all die and I have a great support system who also mourns the same losses I do! Never alone!! We climb together! Achieve goals, or don’t, but at least try. Dream!! Don’t be afraid. If I look back in time, I have had a lot of both: fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams. But I am alive and here to tell my story. I am different. My dreams are different. But I still dream!
Life did change in the blink of an eye! And, it happened more than once!! My dreams have to change with it. This does not mean I change, at least, not on purpose! I want to hope these changes and unfulfilled dreams have made me stronger, made my loved ones proud, and tells the story of hope and survival!! I am better for having those I have lost in my life, for whatever time I had, I am grateful! I will cherish those memories forever!! I cry because they are gone, but I smile because they were here!!
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