His passing has led me to take a hard look at my life. I have chased the "good" life. I have taken on responsibilities to lead a respectable life. I have a mortgage and a fairly new car. I go to work everyday, even though I have long lost my passion for what I do to pay the bills. I have a savings account, a 401K, health insurance and plans to retire in about 10 years. But what if I don't life that long? Or am struck down by a dibilitating disease or injury? Will those things still mean so much to me?
As I visited Ron in his hospice bed, dependent on everyone for all his needs, his regrets were not for his career or material possessions. It was for the things he had dreamed of doing but waited on while he worked and paid the mortgage. Spending time with his son, staying in touch with friends, working on his old cars, camping and fishing and all the things he dreamed of doing before his health made those things impossible to do. If he had it to do over again, he would have changed his priorities. And of his memories, those that he marveled at most, where the small things in life that he accomplished. Surviving hard Montana winters, hooking the big one, old sailor stories of foreign seas and watching the sun set from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
I'll be back to visit him. And after I pour a cup of coffee on his grave and sprinkle tobacco across the grass, I hope I can tell him I've learned the lessons he inadvertantly left behind. To be unafraid to follow my dreams. To enjoy each breath I'm am alloted in the pursuit of something meaningful to me. To accept others for who they are unconditionally and look beyond their exterior for the good within. And to avoid finding fault with who I am based on the expectations of others. Most of all I won't be waiting for that perfect moment anymore - it may be too late by the time that comes around.
When my time comes, I want to use his words for a perfect day - "now that was a good cup of coffee"!!