Monday, January 18, 2010

I have lost a good friend. A man who occupied my life for 27 years, first as a friend, then spouse and then friend again. The father of my son and a best friend, without whose encouragement, I would never have become the artist I am. His passing has left such a hole in my heart. I did not expect this pain. But then do we ever know what a part people play in our lives until they are no longer there? How you can miss such a simple thing as a daily email? Or his steadfast belief that I should quit this job I hate that pays the mortgage and dive in, head first, into supporting myself with my art? Everyone knows you have to pay the mortgage, don't they?

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"!!


Cindi V. Walton said...

My dear friend, what a beautiful tribute to Ron. What you wrote is making me think, too, about what my priorities are and what is really important to me. I look forward to toasting him and you with a glass of wine and having a long chat the next time we're together. Many hugs to you,

Tory Brokenshire said...

I have been thinking about you Jan, I'm glad your home.

linda said...

Such a valuable lesson from a singular perspective. Thanks for sharing- we all need to hear this one. And I am sorry for your loss, and for Tim's. ((hugs))

Lise said...

Dear Jan, By sharing this post, you inspire us all. Sending kind thoughts your way today. There was a beautiful sunrise over Vancouver this morning. Blessings to you. Namaste, Lise

Robin Olsen said...

Jan, I'm so sorry for the pain you are going through, but the lessons you share are such a wonderful tribute to him.

Debi K said...

Jan, I am sorry for your loss. Ron left you with some important things to think about. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings as you travel through this difficult time. These are things we all struggle with, but not all of us can express ourselves the way you can. You have a real gift for writing. Take care, Debi

Lenall Siebenaler said...

I am sorry that you have had to go through the passing of your old and dear friend. I know you are feeling numb and empty. I hope that his looking back on what was important in his life will jolt you into finding a new purpose and renewed happiness in yours. Hopefully fond memories of him will bring a smile to your face and that this will get you through these tough days to come. I am here for you. Your friend, Lenall

Hermila said...

Dear Jan, I'm very sorry to learn of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love,

Suzie said...

Your have a such a beautiful way with words, and what better tribute to Ron than being inspired by his life and his values. Your posts always inspire me and get me to thinking. Death visits us and always seems to leave a gift. My mom's death made me re-think a lot of things as well.

Sending you lots of love.

When you're ready, lets have an art date.


Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

SEIZE THE DAY!!!! Don't wait... SEIZE THIS MOMENT AND THE NEXT to be what you wish to become!

thinking of you dear friend!

much peace and light