December 11 marked the 51st wedding anniversary of my parents. I called my Mom to wish her Happy Anniversary not quite certain if I should dial the phone. “Happy Anniversary Mom,” I said in my most upbeat voice. She, of course, said “Thank You.” We talked about my father and I cracked a joke about him. My Mom chuckled, reminding me of the tone of my daughter’s belly laugh. She ended the conversation with choked backed tears and a hollow good-bye. “I know you miss him today Mom” were the only words I could muster.
I’ve mulled this exchange between us for the last few days. When the bereaved grieve, your mind gravitates toward all of those plans that weren’t realized. I know my father had regrets (out of respect for my father I won’t disclose them here). His regrets motivate me to think about that all important question, “What are you living for?” I think about all of the decisions and actions I participate in everyday and wonder if all these minute details will lead to the life that I truly want for myself. We all get caught in the details. Working long hours. Paying bills. Shuffling our kids to and from from birthday parties, playdates, and visits to the park. Cleaning dishes and washing cars. Those details bury us. We hide in them, thinking we are accomplishing something, but really, is that what we are living for?
There are no easy answers to this question. For each individual the response varies. But I do believe, as hard as it might be sometimes, you have to question yourself. What are you living for? Don’t hide from yourself. Answer the question.
Image by Leshaines 123
Excellent, Rudri. When we answer the question we allow ourselves to live more fully.
I’m sure it was such a bittersweet conversation with your mom. I know you both miss him every day.
Such an important reminder and such beautiful words. xo
Such an important question. Happy Anniversary to your mom. How sad to lose the love of your life. After my dad passed away, my mom said that she had nothing to live for. She lived for another fifteen months. I didn’t understand because she had us but … lovely thoughts here. xo.
Perhaps the question can become more collective than individual, perhaps then we might choose to live for love, giving love so long as we live, daring to imagine that the love we give may endure, not so much beyond our seemingly brief lives, but eternally in the bill paying, play dates and seemingly banal minutia… to live like Emily in the end of “Our Town,” with a consciousness of death, and thus preciousness of the moment, while we are yet alive. Your questions, and your love for your mom and dad, strike me as potential pretexts to connect softly and bravely in human experience. Whatever any of it may mean, I send good wishes toward the hollowness of loss and the vivification of life. Namaste
You certainly cut right to the heart of the matter in this, Rudri!
I sometimes wonder which is more painful – knowing what you’re living for and being unable to fully execute on it, or finding yourself at a loss to answer this question which, incidentally, many never ask themselves because they don’t think to do so, or they haven’t the luxury of doing so.
I am grateful that I can ask myself, and likewise, that I know the answer – even if I feel as though I fall short, very short, of doing what I’m “here” to do.