Missing some important people that made a tremendous difference in my life. April is the month my Dad passed away 13 years ago. There are a few old timers that I had great respect for and a genuine admiration and love that have passed. I gained great insight from those old timers and many have been gone for several years.
Most recently Coach Bob Ryan passed a few days ago. Coach was in his 90s and lived a great life. He raised an amazing family and had positive influence on hundreds of student athletes during his career. I had the opportunity to play for Coach Ryan and also coach along his side.
As I get older the list of people gone continues to grow, not surprising, but sad none the less.
Even more devastating than losing the elderly are the loved ones, friends, and acquaintances that pass away much too soon. Death does not discriminate, but when it happens too early from the result of disease, sickness, accident, tragedy, etc…, it’s almost impossible to accept and understand. When death occurs close to home, I always have a conversation with God.
Most times I’m not appropriate with my discussion and questions and I get mad at God. Later, sometimes much later, I feel bad about how I spoke to God and I apologize. One of my old timers who is now gone, always reminded me that God understands our anger and that as long as we continue to speak to him, we’re ok.
He always said, “God never gets mad at us.” It’s when we deny or ignore him that He has an issue with us.
I remember one time when I was talking to this old timer, I suggested that he should quit smoking and maybe slow down on his drinking. He got very upset with me and didn’t talk to me for months. I finally cornered him and reminded him that “God doesn’t get mad at us, why are you mad at me?” His response, “I’m not God!”
From that day on, he quit smoking, but told me point blank, “if you say another word about my drinking, I’ll punch you in the nose.” I believed him and never mentioned another word about his drinking. I wasn’t so concerned about his drinking I was more worried about getting punched in the nose and if you know me, my nose is big enough.
When people leave us, all that we have left are the memories. I’m sure each of you reading this article can think of many stories about the people in your life who have passed. Some of the stories will make you laugh or cry, many will make you think or forget, some remembered stories will cause you to act or share. Take a few minutes this week and reminisce about those that are no longer here.
As a little boy I remember my Dad sitting at the dinner table trying to tell a joke, but his laughter prior to the punch line failed to let anybody listening understand what was so funny. My Mom used to get angry that he couldn’t finish the joke. Dad’s laughing uncontrollably and Mom’s annoyance was as funny as the joke, which we never heard.
To hear Dad try and tell one more joke and see Mom getting annoyed would be priceless…ah the memories.
I remember coming home late, past curfew as a teenager. Both Mom and Dad were waiting and as I entered the door and awaiting an explanation. I began to tell them a story, complete lies to cover what really happened. They both looked at me and in unison said “you’re full of s....” They went on to add, two weeks restriction, and they demanded the truth.
I told them the truth and they said go to bed. When Friday night rolled around, I was upstairs in my room watching TV. My Mom came in my room and asked me if I was going out. I reminded her I was on restriction and she smiled and said, “you were on restriction for lying, but the restriction was lifted for telling the truth.”
I jumped up and got ready to go out. On the way out, Dad reminded me that I only have so many get out of jail free cards and although the truth is good, it won’t prevent punishment all the time. Lesson learned…ah the memories.
Memories keep our loved ones and friends alive in our heart. As spring brings new life, let memories be your spring season and bring those loved ones and friends back to life. The saying, “gone but not forgotten,” rings true to me.
I talk to my loved ones and friends that are no longer here. It keeps them fresh in my mind. The years go by fast and sometimes I forget how long they’ve been gone, but the memories remain and bring about all the emotions that they brought when they were alive. Your imagination and memories will allow us and all those that have gone before to remain alive.
Nobody can steal your memories. Take time to reminisce and remember those that are no longer here.
Remember to pray for those in need and it’s ok to pray for yourself. Have a great April.
I look forward to sharing another column in May. Be well and be blessed.