December 24, 2015
It was cold and windy that day. The sun was now slipping into shadows spreading a cold darkness across the land. I stood there in this hallowed and honorable place on earth where those before us rest in peace.
It was the day before Christmas, and I felt a need, nay, a yearning to be near those who cared the most for me and my well being all those years ago. As I stood before the markers of where my mother, father, grandparents, uncles and aunts lie in eternal peace, I look back on a life of happiness, grief and regrets, and yet a childhood of love and affection. For these loving souls were there for me guiding my life to do what was right, honest and to live a life that would make God proud. For it was not only their guidance and instructions that inspired my doing the right thing but the very example that they provided. To teach a lesson is by far easier than living a life without regrets, and so it was with these respected elders of mine.
The wind seemed colder now as the sun had now all but disappeared. I gazed across the snow-covered land and remember those Christmases of long ago. There were green and gaily decorated trees with brightly colored packages scattered about. Loving secrets were kept from little ears, and loving relatives shared secret plans of things to come. Some things come into our lives and are dismissed with little thought and earn no place in our memories, but those days surrounding the Christmases of our youth will be with us always.
I turned my eyes to the place where my mother rests. She died so young. I miss her so much. I had so little time with her. It seemed such a waste, and yet in a way, I am happy for her for I know she is in a far better place than we know. My father lies now beside her, both at peace, bound together by eternal love. What greater tribute can I bestow upon these two wonderful people than to kneel down on one knee and say thank you and I praise my memories of you.
And now as I approach the later years of life, I too wonder what the future holds and will I get to see my grandchildren live their lives. For it has been said that the greatest wonderment lies before us, and our time here on earth is in the hands of our Creator. As I approach my seventh decade, the mystery becomes even greater. The start of each decade before was cause for little or no concern, but as I enter the seventh, I realize there is anything but promise that I will see beyond it. I look back on a life of regrets and broken dreams, of promises broken and unfulfilled. I ask forgiveness for the mistakes and transgressions that forever haunt my very soul. We travel though life taking roads of uncertainty and those with little or no reward, and yet the ones that remain with us and will be with us to our graves are the ones we truly regret.
I got to my feet and gazed over the snow-covered tombstones. Some were friends, and some were of kin to me, and some to whom my heart still clings. If I could have my life to live over, I would not ask for riches or even eternal happiness, I would ask for one chance, just one moment more to spend with these wonderful and loved two people I called Mom and Dad. And the regret that I will carry to my grave is not expressing my love for them. For life’s biggest treasure is to love and to be loved, and life’s biggest regret is not knowing this simple truth.
I stepped back from the graves and wiped the tears from my eyes. It was now beginning to snow. I knew that it was time for me to go, for I had not dressed as warmly as I should have. Already snow was collecting on the stones hiding the lives and memories of two loved and loving people. “Merry Christmas,” I uttered softly, turned and walked away.