AS LONG AS THEY'RE ALIVE

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Yesterday at 8 pm I was outside and heard the birds singing. Bright sun, it's summer, here the sun goes down at 9 pm May to July. And the birds reminded me of my youth when my mother sent me to bed "Tomorrow's school !" at - 8 pm. I couldn't sleep, thinking of the daylight and the warm weather outside, and occasionally I heard the older ones playing soccer outside.

 

Suddenly I thought: Did she REALLY send me to bed at 8 pm or am I just imaging ? Then, sadly, I thought - I will never be able to ask anyone anything anymore about my youth as a child, because they're all dead. Gone. I look into the mirror and think what kind of Zombie is that ? Not me, no way. I feel young and have energy, and then I see that wrinkled face in the mirror. No lady ever would even come close to me, unless I'm Donald Trump or Warren Buffett - lots of cash for a nice buffet.

 

Smash the darn thing !

 

There are so many things I don't know. I didn't care about it when my parents were alive, but now.....no chance to ask them what was when and why. Beware - this is not a negative article at all, it's just.....a regretting. And it's my fault. Just as Mike and the Mechanics say:

 

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thoughts
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talkin' in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So Don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

 

I guess most people will feel that way when they notice that they get older and their loved ones die away.

 

Just remember: As long as you have your parents, appreciate it. Share your thoughs with them. Have verbal fights, whatever. But TALK. If not, you will regret it one day.

Comments

Jeffrey Kelly Added May 23, 2017 - 8:33am
Nicely done.
Dino Manalis Added May 23, 2017 - 8:35am
Enjoy a pleasant summer and live life to the fullest, because it's precious and temporary!
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 8:49am
Thanks guys :-)
Jeffrey Kelly Added May 23, 2017 - 9:03am
I lost my father about twenty years ago. I've dealt with the regret of the things I didn't do with my father while I had a chance....but, the things we did do, going to museums, baseball games, hanging out watching football together, the family times we shared, all those fond memories help.
 
My mother is still alive and recently remarried.  I'm happy for her, she is still quite spry and full of life.  I know, however, that her time will end, just like everyone.  I hope I won't have those regrets, she lives far away but I see her when I can.  It was good to see all of my family at her wedding but it's also sad to see how old my aunt and uncle have gotten.  My older brother is in his 50's, I'm in my late 40's, my youngest sister is in her mid-40's.  Someday I will have to deal with loss of them as well, or, perhaps, they will mourn my loss.  My children will mourn my loss, perhaps my wife go before I do and then I will mourn her loss.
 
My main regret now is that I'm estranged from my older sister, she refuses to have anything to do with our family.  In a way I already mourn for her, we were close as children and I'm not really sure what happened.  I gave up calling her on holidays a few years ago, that started the mourning.  
 
LOL, I'm not sure where I am going with this, your article made me think about all of these things and now I want to express them.  Maybe I should stop cluttering up your comment section and write about this in a new posting.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 10:05am
Jeffrey
 
That's ok, no problem ! I don't see this as cluttering up.
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 12:07pm
Stone I am 65. My dad died when he was 52. I have yet to visit the grave. No regrets just fact. My mom is 90 now. We talk at least 2 to 3 times a week. Now when I call it's Are you still writing? So I read her the latest. It is our time together. Her question to me is  Are you happy to which I respond Finally. 
Donna Added May 23, 2017 - 12:52pm
Stone, great one!! 
Lost dad a little over a year ago, mom is still with us. Sisters are close minus one, which as Jeffrey said i already mourn, as all the choices made were by her own hand. It is a true sad reality that as we age, we lose most of those whom are the important ones in life..I have always said treat all well, no time is guaranteed! Here today, gone in a second.. )0(
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 1:21pm
Hey Ric
 
Thought you were younger LOL
 
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 1:23pm
Nope but thanks for the compliment. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 1:27pm
Donna
 
Thanks. You see, the thing which makes aging easier to support is the same - when they all are gone it's easier for us to go too (except the children, if you have some).
 
The time changes, and when one is 90 in our Western world so much has changed that we don't really feel "at home" any more in the environment. Aging here is so much more difficult that in other cultures, where several generations still live together and can support each other - the young the elderly with their physical abilties and the elderly the young with their experience, whereas both respect each other.
 
That was and is one big argument which influenced my departure to Africa.
Donna Added May 23, 2017 - 1:37pm
Stone, i just turned 51, and i know what you mean. I have in-laws so to speak, that are in late 80's,we mow, shop for them, live next door, so are always there, calls come quite frequently as of late, his dad is in bad health. My mom is for the most part healthy, she comes to for dinner 3 times a week, or i fix and bring it to her..Eating alone, was not for her, after so many years with Dad, she lost so much weight i took over..fattening her up..Would never put them in a home, that is how most do things here, it is sad..the took care of me, i will always be there for them..As long as i am still on this side. )0(
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 1:48pm
Donna
 
you guys are in a much better position than we are here in Europe. We don't have much space available (especially in Switzerland), and if, it's too expensive. A cheap house goes for 500'000$ minimum, so we're a people of tenants where big families wouldn't have enough space.
 
So most of old people are vegetating in retirement homes. This might be ok for the ones who start to forget things and are generally not the brightest, but for people who have seen the world, traveled much and are alert and interested in many subjects, it's hell.
 
Imagine you have only people around you with whom you can only talk about the weather, the fading health and TV programs....
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 1:54pm
What I have done is to go to facilities and ask the activities director if I could just go there a read a story to the residents. Of their choice. You'd be surprised at the stories you here from those who just want to talk. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 2:00pm
Ric
 
For example ?
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 2:02pm
One woman told me of hiding in her home when the V2 rockets fell during WWII. A gentleman told me of how he outed a pedofile in a youth organization.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 2:10pm
Ric
 
I don't mean rememberings of old history. I think more like "What do you think is the war in the ME about ?" "Do you think that digital gadgets make our youth dumber ?"
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 2:12pm
BTW: I mean interest into what happens TODAY in general. Maybe seen from the view of what it was like before. This is what I call interesting. Experience meets curiosity.
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 2:30pm
To me the war in the ME has been about religious theology. Oil and control. The misuse of digital gadgets makes us all dumber.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 2:33pm
Ric
 
I agree, although I don't see oil as the primal factor, but control. But let's not get into politics here ;-)
Ric Wells Added May 23, 2017 - 2:34pm
Just as an energy resource to run the Machine. No politics. Not necessary.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 2:41pm
Ric
 
Admitted.
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added May 23, 2017 - 6:25pm
I lost my mother when I was nine, I've talked about it before elsewhere here and won't go into the details again. Suffice to say it shaped the person I am today. There are many times that I wish I could ask her things or share things with her. Like for instance I'm pregnant again and would love to be able to share that with her. Or back the first time. Or when I got married. I have a few great women friends who I talk with about these things, but it's not the same. My dad is still with us and I never miss an opportunity to share with him. I can't imagine losing him and always worry about him. Never take your loved ones for granted or waste the precious time you have with them. Never put off doing or saying what you need to do now, tomorrow may never come. 
Jeff Michka Added May 23, 2017 - 6:31pm
Jenifer Frost writes: Never take your loved ones for granted or waste the precious time you have with them. Never put off doing or saying what you need to do now, tomorrow may never come.  - Bravo! Well-said. Perhaps #1 way to look at life.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 23, 2017 - 6:34pm
Jenifer
 
I knew that you'll have the same opinion as me. Wouldn't have thought otherwise. People who have an affinity to spiritual things do understand.
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added May 23, 2017 - 9:42pm
I too wasn't there the day my father died.  Overall I had a wonderful relationship with both my parents.There were things I didn't get to say but I hope they knew anyway.  We can't go back but I have tried to live with my children the things I may have missed with my parents. Mike and the Mechanics say so much but you have covered it well.  Thanks
Mircea Negres Added May 24, 2017 - 2:01am
I like to tinker with words, whether mine or others', so it's unsurprising that even Frank Sinatra didn't escape my attentions, because I often croak (can't sing worth a damn) "Regrets I've had a few, but riches none". Yeah, regrets haunt and they sometimes hurt like hell, especially when one realizes that life's done giving and has begun taking away... Nicely done once again, Stone-Eater.
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 4:31am
> "No lady ever would even come close to me, unless I'm Donald Trump or Warren Buffett"
 
Unless she is old and wrinkled, too...
 

> "Aging here is so much more difficult that in other cultures, where several generations still live together and can support each other - the young the elderly with their physical abilties and the elderly the young with their experience, whereas both respect each other."
 
Very true, indeed. Industrialization, increased mobility, and acculturation of the nuclear family brought us this change, not to mention the hippie/youth movement. It's one of those things we should work to correct which has less to do with money than attitude. One of the reasons I rail against our current society's myopic focus on money and profit. If, say, we would think of the gross national product as a pie we all share, would distribute much more equally based on both contribution AND need, as opposed to winner-take-what-he-can, so -- for instance -- we would tax the rich and corporations more (like we used to do under FDR) and the machines which replace jobs to, in turn, create a guaranteed basic income, many of us could refocus on human things like taking care of our youngest and oldest relations again. We could redesign home building to be more affordable and planned ahead for old age. Where space is rare, we could organize affordable living communities a lot more dignified and livable than those retirement homes where people are packed away to vegetate and die. We could do so much if we weren't ruled by capitalist taskmasters even to the point that we elevate the selfish and callous capitalist principle to a kind of religion. Just saying... not to become overly political in this thread, but what we do as a society shapes much of our personal and family lives.
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 4:33am
> "That was and is one big argument which influenced my departure to Africa." ... "you guys are in a much better position than we are here in Europe. We don't have much space available (especially in Switzerland)..."
 
Seems you didn't stay in Africa, then.
 
 
> "So most of old people are vegetating in retirement homes. This might be ok for the ones who start to forget things and are generally not the brightest, but for people who have seen the world, traveled much and are alert and interested in many subjects, it's hell. Imagine you have only people around you with whom you can only talk about the weather, the fading health and TV programs..."
 
I know that dread. At least in Switzerland you have that organization known as Dignitas (though costly, I hear)...
 
I am glad to find here a more mature community than at many other places on the Net. I am one of those rare, unfortunate birds who recognized the curse of aging and death at a very young age. It makes it quite impossible for most people (prime example, someone like Expat) to comprehend me and my positions.
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 4:34am
> "Never take your loved ones for granted or waste the precious time you have with them." ~ Jenifer Frost
 
I'd add to that, never take anything that's good in life for granted. It'll all go away sooner or later.
 

> "Yeah, regrets haunt and they sometimes hurt like hell, especially when one realizes that life's done giving and has begun taking away..." ~ Mircea Negres
 
Ditto.
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 5:11am
One thing we could do if we were not so focused on money, wresting it from each other, and supporting a system that concentrates them in the hands of a self-serving few, would be to put more efforts into aging research to lead to longer, healthier lives. What does it say about our people(s), species, and system(s) that we don't?
 
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 5:11am
concentrates it -- sorry
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 24, 2017 - 5:33am
PPP
 
I thought that song tells it perfectly.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 24, 2017 - 5:37am
Dirk
 
Good comments, thanks. Also to Mircea. Concerning
 
Seems you didn't stay in Africa, then.
 
You see to leave our material security here takes a lot of preparation and planning. There is no health insurance there, and my retirement is still 4-5 years away (depending on the plans of the government to put up retirement age to 67, then it would be even longer).
 
But after years of planning it looks as if I can finally move down in 5 months, means in November. Fingers crossed.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 24, 2017 - 5:42am
BTW:
 
At least in Switzerland you have that organization known as Dignitas (though costly, I hear)...
 
Not necessary. If I want to die I wait for winter, go up to the mountains at night and drink 2 bottles of vodka ;-)
wsucram15 Added May 24, 2017 - 11:28am
SEF.. This is an example of why I write on here. Great article.
My father, whom I had a very contentious relationship with from the time I was 16 died when I was 36.  We had spoken on and off during that time but never resolved our issues.  There is a tremendous amount of guilt that goes with that and something I advise against with any person.
My family was extremely dysfunctional so I worked very hard on with my Mom, with whom I learned a great deal about in the last 9 years of her life. I made sure she had an apartment in my home and space of her own until I had to move her into my space.  I even learned a good bit about my father from her in spite of her hatred for him.  I came to understand why he did the things he did, no excuse, but I was able to understand why he thought the way he did.
One day after my mother, Aunt, older sister and other elder family member had passed away in 2009, I thought..wow, Im really on my own. There is just no one but me. It kind of surprised me, because I was on my own for years and never had that feeling until both parents were gone.
 
No matter what your experiences with your parents, keep an open line of communication open...its very important for them and you.
 
 
 
 
Dirk Droll Added May 24, 2017 - 6:30pm
> "But after years of planning it looks as if I can finally move down in 5 months, means in November. Fingers crossed."
 
I wish you the best of luck. I hope it works out as desired.

> "Not necessary. If I want to die I wait for winter, go up to the mountains at night and drink 2 bottles of vodka ;-)"
 
Hmm... thanks for the tip. ... ... ... Hmm... Still, one problem always is, who will one curse with finding one's body? ... Maybe, if one... ... ... hmm...
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 25, 2017 - 8:25am
Jeanne
 
Thanks. You see, I'm kind of fed up by all that political crap and "I know better"'s, so I try to put up subjects which concern us all ;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added May 25, 2017 - 8:25am
Dirk
 
Thanks. It will work :-)

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