Today, a friend’s father passed on. I am at that age when parents grow old. When life demands we welcome the withering of those we once found invincible. When we start marking more and more folds in the eyes of the ones we looked up to. When they begin to stoop and we are now a head taller. When we look at them and see our grandparents: thinning silver hair, wrinkles and spots, a tad smaller than the larger than life images we had of them before. When we take on the paradox that we now have traded places. Soon, I will hold your hand. Soon I will nurse your fever. Soon I will lead you.
And, when we live with the dreadful truth that we might wake up one day and they have ebbed away, or no longer there.
I hate time. She slips through. Tricks me into trusting I have a hundred other days like this one. Or that 100 days hence, my mom will still be there to pick up my call. I never want to be there- that day when there’s static at the other end of the line. When it’s the end of our line.
And a friend’s father slipping away jolts me back into being. Being here. Awake on the half day I still have. When my mother has not yet turned ashen gray. When I can still get on a plane and look up to her perfect face. When she still stands tall. When I can still rely on my safe haven, she who fixes boos-boos and heartache. When everyone I love is still here, and my life has not been turned upside down.
And perhaps I will have another half day or half a century. Except that I will never have enough time to say goodbye. So I say, “be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” Those you love are still here. You do not have a hundred days like this one. Because this day never comes again. And time, if you let her be, will slip through; leisurely rob the ones you love of hair, of skin, of bones; and then one day, stealthily take away your sanctuaries and safe havens, leaving you with nothing but silence at the end of the line.
Quote from Henri Frederic Amiel