Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

As I sit here and sip peppermint tea, I have been thinking of my friend whose passing has shocked me to the core. He was retired but worked part time at Goodwill just to earn a little extra.

I had stopped by Goodwill on Friday to say hello to him, the one who always says "Hi, Sweetie!"... always a nice thing to hear when you are fifty-ish. :)

He and hubby would swap Viet Nam war stories as I checked for teacups and saucers.

He always thought it so funny when I'd be chatting with my daughter on the cell phone... asking if the grandchildren need a certain book or toy or some other inexpensive item.

He'd always laugh at me and say his wife loves to find bargains for the grandkids, too.

Money is tight so I hadn't been there even to browse these past two weeks.

And then there was Friday.... the obituary taped to the front door... my friend's picture and his life all in two small columns... cancer diagnosed the previous week... pneumonia last weekend... death on Wednesday... I never got a chance to say goodbye.

I came across this writing by Erma Bombeck again recently. I believe she wrote it after being diagnosed with cancer. It gives words to how I feel this week.

“IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER….

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it…live it and never give it back.”

16 comments:

Becky K. said...

Brenda,
I am so very sorry for your loss.

This is a very good list to keep in mind. I also try to think this way when it comes to spending time with my children...rather than focusing in on things that can be done later...if they want to do something now.

Becky K.

lisazahnwrites said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.

That Erma Bombeck column is wonderful. I really do try to live that way, but I'm afraid it doesn't always work that way...It's good to be reminded.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Brenda, I am so sorry for your loss. He sounded like a warm person and I know you and your husband will miss him. I tend to be someone that has missed out on lots of things because I was afraid, or thought it not just right at the moment. In the last few years I have been praying the Lord will give me the courage to 'live' more. I have the Blessed Hope and I need to act like it.

matty said...

Brenda,
So sorry about your friend! It is these little relationships that mean so much, don't they?

Years ago, "Reader's Digest" ran a column called "The magic I almost missed." I was pregnant with my son at the time, so I cut it out and put it on my refrigerator. It is still there, reminding me to quit taking life so seriously and to have more fun. It has the same advice that Bombeck has: enjoy every day; love each other; know the magic of life!

Please pour yourself a special cuppa and sit on your lovely deck and listen to the birds!

scrappy quilter said...

Brenda, I'm so sorry for your loss. A great list to keep in mind. We miss out on so much, don't we? Hugs..

Anonymous said...

My grandmother used to tell me how hard it was to loose people as she aged, leaving her nearly the last one in her generation of those she knew (she left us at age 91). I have come to understand that more and more. While we have younger people around us that we love, those closer to us in age, or older, are an irreplaceable treasure. May you be comforted by our FATHER as you mourn the loss of your friend!!
Elizabeth

Rhonda Jean said...

Hugs Brenda. I am going through this with a good friend of mine right now. It's heartbreaking. Take care, love.

Vee said...

These things always shock us, don't they? I think it's because we were not created for death. Otherwise, it would be so perfectly natural that we'd be ho-hum. I've always liked that piece and believe that I can take a good bit of wisdom from it, especially now that I am listening to a grandparent's ramblings.

Hope that you have been enjoying a good summer, Brenda. I certainly miss being here reading on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

Times like these remind us of how fragile life is and how we should not take our time here for granted but how often we do. Sending a hug your way.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

So sorry for your loss and his family...it's just so hard with very little "warning."

(My husband and I visited a church in our little town today that had Don Piper speaking. He wrote 90 Minutes in Heaven. He reminded me of many truths, one of which is to share with others about Jesus. Very inspiring.)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's certainly a reminder that everyday is a gift.
V.

Linda said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I think Erma's words very wise indeed. We can really only be certain we have this one day. We should live it to the fullest - cherishing the moments.

Anonymous said...

All too soon my brother and sisters find ourself the last of both sides our family still alive. Our parents married when older and died befoe knowing our children long. Now it is up to us to remember the stories and the times to be passed on through the family after we go. It seems only yesterday I sat at my father's knee hearing these stories and thinking I would hear them again and again and did not listen as now I wish I had. The elders in my family always seemed so wise and old and I feel neither old and especially not wise. But now we Are the elders of our families. Often I think of something I long so to tell one of these wonderful people of my life but they are not there. Or wish I could ask them for their advice. When we still feel we need someone to ask for advice now the younger are asking us...the shift happened all to suddenly. Our parents probably felt the same in their day when it happened to them. We were raised to sit and listen when adults were talking...not at all wrong but I never got to ask about the everyday things I wanted to know about my relatives. Now when asked I often do not know the answer about the family I should have and may have if I had listened or it been written down. But Oh did I know we were loved and yearn to be around these many wonderful people again even if I never ever got to ask those questions...just to be among them again at a family picnic ..or anything!... The play Our Town sums it up so beautifully. Yes the people in our lives are so very precious...not things. Erma Bombeck sure put into words what type of things are important. Live the life God gave you with joy and thankgiving. I am so sorry Brenda that your friend died. It was so sudden wasen't it. He will be missed by so many...many more than his family will ever know of I am sure. Jody

Mrs. Staggs said...

Hi Brenda,

My sincere condolences to you on the passing of your friend. It is a fortunate person who has good memories of a friend.

Life is made up of so many more little moments, yet a great number of people only live for the big ones. I know you are one of the lucky ones. You know that life is measured by the little moments, as well as those big ones.

marie said...

I am sorry about your loss. That was really fast! We all need to cease every moment and savor it and enjoy it--sometimes that is so hard. My husband and I went to a family reunion yesterday. This was decendants from my mother's mother. There was a large crowd there but it is mostly my generation and younger that are left to attend. There was one of my mother's first cousins that have memories at life with my great grandparents. I want before it is too late have her to tell me all her memories so that I can pass them down. I wish so much that I had my grandmother here to ask her so many questions that I didn't know that I would be interested in after she was gone.
Erma's words are great!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Brenda,

What a wonderful reminder that only God knows the number of our days and that we must live for God to the fullest.