It was a cold and dark late February night two years ago. A Monday even. It was just after midnight as I was driving home from a rec hockey game on a lonely Stoney Trail in Calgary. Only Canadians would pay hundreds of dollars a year to show up at all hours of the night on a week day…and play hockey in the dead of winter. But there I was. Usually after a late night skate, I’m the epitome of an oxymoron…somewhere in between being exhausted and fired up. This night, not so. I was incredibly fatigued, but in a much different way. My soul was tired. It was only a day before, that I returned from the most harrowing week of my life, watching my mother cling to life while battling H1N1. With plans to return and see her the next week, I thought I would escape to play some hockey to try and fake or feel a sense of normalcy. It was that night, while driving that desolate road, in a literal instant, I saw a comet streak through the sky. For a fleeting moment, it lit up the South Calgary skyline. In the same amount of time that it turned night to day, the sky then resumed its dead cold grip on darkness. In that moment, I felt a terrible sense of dread…a feeling I would never wish upon anyone. Devastatingly, I found out that next night that my mother would not make it. Nearly two years on and looking back on the fog of those few weeks; regardless of what one believes, I’m certain that’s the moment my mother’s spirit left her body.
The strange thing about it…that I’ve tried to reconcile in my mind, is that usually when a comet streaks across the sky you hear all about it. The next day there was silence…but I’m certain it happened. I know what I saw.
They say time heals all wounds. Maybe…maybe not. Sometimes I wish the only thing that broke…was my fall. Time may or may not heal, but what I know for sure is that it just passes by and so do we. Yet, time is the most valuable currency that we have. I try not to look back and think of that aweful time, but every so often I catch myself. However, now in these moments I feel almost a sense of gratefulness in knowing that even after her passing, my mother is imparting her wisdom and emphasizing a crucial lesson. It’s one we all know and likely talk about and feel often; the fact that time is precious. Well it certainly is and we would all likely agree on that point. Yet, our modern-day life doesn’t always allow for reflection of that fact; we are all busy. I get that, it happens to me more often that it should…even now. It just is what it is…we take things for granted although we don’t mean to.
You can’t always control things can you? I don’t always know what to do with these thoughts, emotions or feelings…so when it strikes me, I write. It seems to be one of the things that help. It’s like singing in your car when you’re alone…you know you’re not the best singer, but sometimes it feels good to just let it out. With the two-year anniversary of my mothers passing approaching and the family day weekend upon us, one can’t help but reflect. So here I am writing. Focusing and embracing the positive shift in my psyche, in my viewpoint. That’s the gift that time can bring. Perspective. It feels like my mother is still there sometimes.
Focusing on the positives. That’s what my mother would want all of us to do…and that is what I try to set my intention on everyday. Sure I relapse, but I’m making an honest to God concerted effort with every passing moment. Like that comet in the dark February sky, we are all just moments in time flying through the cosmos. Time is relative, we can’t slow it down (not yet anyways) but we can respect it, appreciate it and revel in it. We’ve all heard it before…but knowing what I know now, it never hurts to have a gentle reminder. With the family day weekend upon us…try, if you can, to do just that. Focus on family, whatever that looks like for you. Put down your screens, your work, your problems and hug your loved ones; remind them of their significance. Take time to listen, take time to talk, take time to embrace, take time to laugh…Ultimately, take time to live in the moment with those you hold dearest. I know I will and my amazing family will do the same for me. They are what drive and inspire me to become a better husband and father every day. I could not be more grateful and thankful for all that they are, forever a beacon of light and love.
There is that old saying that says, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone“. Well, I’ve learnt that’s only applicable if you let it. I think it’s a cop-out…as we are all capable of truly seeing what is directly in front of us. The great Kurt Cobain famously echoed “It’s better to burn out than fade away“. Perhaps we could all be a little more like that comet in our own atmosphere, our own orbit. Burn the brightest you can be…shine as brilliantly as you know how…and light up the lives of those you love most while you can.
We are all acutely aware of how fleeting time can be, so take these moments and hold on to them dearly. Be that comet in the lives of those you love and honour those moments and people in the best way you know how.
Happy Family Day Everyone