Thursday, January 10, 2013

Timelines

I read this sentence allowed with my daughter during a history lesson, ‘Magellan, the tireless captain, met his doom on April 27, 1521.’  Then I quickly did the math in my head; Magellan was only 41 years old.

Only 41 Years Old—it echoed loudly.

That fact doesn’t settle well with me. Maybe it is because I am approaching 41 years of age.  Maybe it is because this month isn’t a great month for me when it comes to losing those I love.  Maybe it is because I am finally realizing my insignificance on history's time line. I am no Magellan, that is for sure.  But I don’t think that is what is really bothering me.

History has all sorts of timelines and people who fill them.   Some of these people have long lives, others’ lives are tragically shortened, some people only make certain timelines—while others never make the timelines of history at all. I wonder which timeline I will make if any?  And why it bothers me?  But again, I don’t think that is what is really bothering me.

Honestly, I could care less about timelines and making history on the grand scale of things. I don’t need to be printed in the history books of time, or even be a Magellan to feel as if I will have left something for my kids and future generations to cherish. But I want to leave behind something…to be passed down to my clan. 

I think that is what is part of what is bothering me, that so far the significance of what I can leave isn’t very significant at all.  I think the other part of what is bothering me is how short life seems. This life seems to go by so fast.  One day I am 20-something getting married, and the next I’m waking up 41 and I feel as if hardly any time has passed at all. 

And to the real question, if I haven’t started planning on leaving a legacy of sorts behind for my kids and their kids by the age of 41, will I ever have time to finish if I start now?

And does it even really matter?

Three years ago today, I lost a very special person in my life.  She was my Aunt and my godmother, and a very significant part of my life.  She was only 61 when she passed, just 20 years older than I am today.  She was beautiful, smart, loving, and kind.  She took good care of herself and everything she had.  She was physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit woman.  She was a teacher and a really good one, because she never failed to find those teachable moments inside and outside the classroom.  She was inspiring. She was able to travel the world and she had a love of Jesus and photography that she instilled in me.  It seems cruel when the one person in this world that did all the right things, still got this nasty thing called cancer, that eventually claimed her life.

I am still grieving her loss.  While I know she is in a much better place, and I have seen her since—in a form of wholeness and happiness—I still miss her and wish she were still here.  My heart breaks when I think about calling her up on the phone and I realize, I don’t have that option anymore.  I know she is home; no longer in pain. And I know I will see her again some day—that she is no longer suffering. 

And this should be a source of comfort to know this.  And some days, it is.

 

Other days…

It just doesn’t make it any easier.

I still miss her.

I still cry when I think of her.

Like now…

as I struggle to find the words… 

 

In many ways, her death made me consider my own mortality.  I hope I won’t die at the age of 41 like Magellan, and I do hope to make it past the age of 61, unlike my Aunt, but just the same, I am faced with the fact that there are no guarantees in this life.  Something that is secured today, may not be there tomorrow.

Maybe it does matter?

I may never get a chance to leave that something behind for my kids and grandkids—or have enough time to make the history books.  Time will continue to march on despite my efforts to do something or despite my lack of efforts.

And this begs the question:

Why should I let it stop me from trying?

Maybe I shouldn’t.

 

Dedicated to my Aunt Connie

Aunt Connie & Jennifer 1976 01

Aunt Connie Jennifer John 1981 01

 Aunt Connie & Jennifer 1990 01

Aunt Connie & Jenn

 

My Aunt

A Poem by Megan Stokes

I thought I saw her face today
In the sparkle of the morning sun.
And then I heard the angel say
“Her work on earth is done.”


I thought I heard her voice today
Then laugh her hearty laugh.
And then I heard the angel say
“There’s peace little one at last.”


I thought I felt her touch today
In the breeze that rustled by.
And then I heard the angel say
“The spirit never dies.”


I thought that she had left me
For the stars so far above.
And then I heard the angel say
“She left you with her love.”


I thought that I would miss her
And never find my way.
And then I heard the angel say
“She’s with you every day.”

Until we meet again.

With Love,

jenn sig copy copy

7 comments:

Theresa Dillman Lennox Wiza said...

What a beautiful blog about your Aunt Connie. Yes, her spirit lives on and yes, she is still with you. She probably visits you in your dreams when your eyes are closed. Most of us can't see our departed loved ones with our eyes open. I am the age your Aunt Connie was when she died. Due to recent medical problems, I am faced with my own mortality and I too think about what it is I leave behind for my children and grandchildren. Not until I read your blog did I realize that maybe the little hats I crocheted, or maybe all the baby afghans I crocheted will be enough. I had always hoped it might be my writing, but I'm thinking now that maybe it's just the love I'll leave behind. Thank you!

Jenn said...

Thank you Theresa. I have seen her numerous times since she passed--awake and asleep--so I do know she is whole again and happy and healthy. But it makes day like today that much harder when the reminder of her passing is here and I'd rather pick up the phone and call to hear her voice than to just know she is there. She has left some beautiful things behind for me to treasure-- especially the memories :)

Kay Swatkowski said...

Your aunt sounds like a wonderful woman. I am sorry for your loss. I am glad she is healthy and whole now.

Kathy Combs said...

What wonderful pictures you have to treasure. I have entertained the same thoughts you are thinking and I am 44. UGH. It seems like life is going so fast. I don't think a person ever gets over the loss of someone who played such a significant role in your life. It may get a little easier to stomach, but at the same time they are still gone and have missed so much. Hugs to you my friend. Getting old is awful and facing our own mortality and contemplating what we have contributed to this world can be down right depressing. Take life one day at a time and enjoy it as best you can. ♥

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Jenn said...

Kay thank you for your comment :) Yes, my Aunt was a wonderful woman, she had an inspirational faith in Jesus and her love for Him was unfailing. She was also a prayer warrior and she always "knew" when I needed something, even if it was just a phone call. I miss that.

Jenn said...

Thanks Kathy, so glad you stopped by to comment. I feel time slipping away. I am usually a person of action--but I am kinda torn on what to do...lol. :) Cheers, Jenn

Paula Martin said...

Your aunt sounds like a wonderful person, Jenn, and she is still very much alive in your memories of her. I'm older now than she was when she died and I sometimes wonder what my daughters' and grandsons' memories of me will be when I am no longer here.

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