The looming prospect of death does amazing work to rouse sentimental feelings of nostalgia, introspect and a yearning for something "more."
Suddenly, life is revealed to be more than the mundane routine we've reduced it to: time spent wastefully inspires contriteness of the heart. All our dreams and hopes packed neatly onto shelves of future plans, chronologically ordered from "Student Life" to "Old Age/Retirement," gather dust as we rush about our lives, doing whatever demands our attention most. In this way, we move about intentionally, following the aimless whims of the present; ever forgetful of our goals and the passing of time.
I've learnt that time only gives you age in exchange. Growing old can be as beautiful as the blooming of a girl child into a mature, white-haired old woman of wisdom and grace, made knowledgeable by experience; in contrast, it may present bitter individuals, hardened by years of struggle imposed on themselves & time wasted saving for a future never to be lived.
The latter is a type of person I've grown to be impressively familiar with. See, my heart breaks each day when I come home to my bed-ridden father, who desperately wills his body to stay alive - perhaps in hopes of defeating his malicious fiend, cancer.
I think of my father's ambitions: here's a man who worked all his life for a comfortable last few chapters of his life but never savoured the years antecedent to his future.
When I think carefully, I see that I am no different.
Time is precious and finite.We go to bed every night with no guarantee of being granted another breath of consciousness the next day, yet we make zealous plans for unpromised days ahead. I'm guilty of banking on tomorrow to fix my mistakes, or even to finally realize my full potential, but faithfully, I postpone it for another day each day.
I always thought that my ability to create an environment ideal for reconciliation would make strides as I grew older, so I procrastinated the day I would have a heart-to-heart with my dad, in hopes of having better capability to go through the discourse of mending a broken father-daughter relationship later - definitely later. The fault in my goal of course, was the lack of a set time-frame, thus, today I am burdened with the regret of never quite "fixing" things.
Earlier this year, I wrote him a letter, following high tensions in the house after he had done something to undermine the role of my mother in our family. Something said to me that "unforgiveness" is poisonous, and that I ought to let that go, lest it begins to hurt me without personal intent. I set out to pen my thoughts and grievances diplomatically, apologized for my anger, and made known my forgiveness for him/his actions.
Today, ebb tides of sadness play in my heart when I consider our incomplete story. We only ever shared one sacred moment of laughter and joy, that was on the 3rd of April this year.
My whole family had chosen to sit around his bed as he told us stories about his childhood and young adult years. His thoughts were lucid at this stage, but his body had begun to give in to the pressures of being slowly monopolized by cancer.
He has never been the same again.
So today, I must apologize:
I'm sorry that I leaned so heavily on the belief that I could do better to amend our relationship in the future, rather than first trying today, and perhaps later improving on past efforts.
I'm sorry that I let anger find a home in my heart for so long, and delayed his long overdue eviction.
I'm sorry that you're sick in bed and unable to control your thoughts and your movements.
I'm sorry that life has panned out this way for you, and that pride has had his way with you.
I'm sorry that I focused so gravely on everything you couldn't and didn't do, that I fail, even today, to see what you have done for me.
I'm sorry that this is how our story ends as father and daughter - that you'll always be a familiar stranger to me.
Today, I must begin to work harder to see the good in people; to invest in my present self in preparation for the future and, to nurture an environment in my heart fit for compassion, honesty and forgiveness to call home.