We grieve for those who have passed on. Our future lays in those who were so dear to us but are no longer. The legacy of their love for one another gave rise to us their children. We must not let what was once our past get lost or somehow outdated as it is now our future. The future did not die with the loss of their physical beings nor should we forget the future they forged which is now our future that is unfolding right before our now wide open eyes tinged with a never before felt skepticism.
Editor’s Note: Please look upon this as a sequel to Joel’s extraordinary Article presented below:
Our parents held us in their nests just as a mother bird does for her children until the time came for our wings to spread wide open allowing us to take flight into the world not yet really know to us. It came to be that time where we were led to live our lives but never to let go of or lose sight of the past. The knowledge that was neatly packed in our mental suitcases just before that critical moment came to say a final goodbye; we turned teary eyed and flew away into our own will soon be unpacked as our own chapter begin to write themselves.
As we fly deep into night passing through cotton ball clouds it all becomes so crystal clear to us that we are floating effortlessly while carrying our vows to never break the commitment we made to always be guided by their wisdom. Forget not the looking ahead to these moments even when there was no thought of them. A dream we may have had of what that day would feel like when it arrived. Already weary as our lonesome solemn journey continues on until suddenly we land in our newly found nests with innocent eyes peeking, peering, and penetrating into ours. They have arrived bringing their forms that were only a short while ago heartbeats heard through a speaker from some machine that could hear the sounds of life while amplifying them so our ears can bear witness to what they just heard.
We proudly retrace our steps to where it all began to show our parents we are continuing their lineage all the while knowing someday our offspring will do the same. The wonder of this moment is one we will hold captive for all of our time. The gift of the times our parents spent nurturing us to grow into what their values, hopes, and dreams willed us to be. There would be no counterbalance without them giving us support when we needed it most.
How I wish I could reach to hold your hand. How I wish you could place one of your kisses upon my cheek or forehead. How I wish I could pick up the phone just to say hello. How I wish this future which is now my present would have you alive and well in it. Neither of you nor Fran could ever be forgotten for all three of you now loom larger than life to me. I wish I had known back then how to show you the affection I felt. Fran can you ever forgive me for all of those vulgar words and thoughts I verbally threw at you from behind the bathroom door the night before your life was brought to an abrupt halt in the stairwells of that building we lived in. How I wish all these years later I could grab those words and shove them down my throat so they would never have come out. This too is an exercise in not forgetting the future from what was passed on.
Could I ever begin to fathom what was lying ahead for me in a world that did not have you in it? How could I expect myself to be prepared for all of these challenges, struggles, emotional highs, and lows that were waiting for me in the shadows of each new change in direction without the strength of courage I drew from you. Please somehow draw me closer to you so our eyes can meet again. If ever I needed you it was back then when life was coming apart at the seams with all the fingers of blame being pointed at me. If I ever needed you it is now as I just need you. Hug me tightly in your arms but do not ever let go of me again. We need each other in the here and now.
The long twisted rope that kept us all within grasp of each other slowly disintegrated until there was nothing left to try to recreate or recapture. What is or was past has not passed me by and never will it be so. With each breath, I am blessed to be able to take I will use it to ensure the we that still lives inside of us is never allowed to become compartmentalized. Not now, not then, not ever shall it come to be again. We may never have known what was secretly stored inside of us but we do know we must reveal what was buried so we can reveal along with reintroducing ourselves to one another. Our connection to what will be while being the will of G-d is rooted in the need to reconnect with each other. Can we just once more sit at that long table with the white linen table cloth to be a whole family again? Please, may it be so one more time.
Can I see mom in her lavender dress sitting side by side with her sisters and brothers just on the other side of the room from where the cousins were conversing? Can I see dad in one his suits whose color I somehow forgot smiling with his faint smile even though he had brought with him his fierce convictions passed onto him by his parents to fervently fight for irrespective of the occasion. From the name of my father along with the name of his father (the grandfather I felt fear of) would years later join together to form the name of my son.
My son is a part of me. My son is a part of my wife. My son is a part of his grandfathers. My son is a part of the grandmothers who loved him. My mother wept as she pleaded with G-d for my father and my sister to see, know, and love him. His part in his future that he is shaping at some point will be minus his parents. Does he know we love him? I think he does. My wife and will not soon forget the sight of our son taking hold of his grandmother’s hand telling her he loved her as life was leaving her body. He had to leave her bedroom where she lay dying as it was just too much for him. He could not bring himself close to the headstone on her grave as he knew the emotions he would be overcome by. In doing so he remained true to the Elveson mantra of trying to hide what he felt inside so it would not show on the outside.
Fran, I must apologize to you for not writing enough about you. You did not make it into the bright future that was only beginning to take shape. Only we, your family knew of the tremendous challenges you had to overcome and did so. In so many ways your formerly foul mouthed brother who knew even less than he thought he did owes you a deep debt of gratitude. Watching you win every struggle with the power of your iron will gave me the impetus to strive to be the best that I could. You pushed me and challenged me in a way that dad never could. DAMMIT, why was it you and not me whose life was cut down? Why did it have to be you? Just as mom kept asking why through her tears I must now be the one to ask why not that mom has passed. Sadly, no matter how many times we ask why the answer will never be forthcoming.
What good does the future do or what meaning could it possibly have if we leave behind the past? The past that was all a part of us must not be allowed to wither away and die never to be thought about again. Each one of us widened the inner circle of our family unit. From becoming a husband to becoming a father, for you Fran bringing the children that you taught the gift of your life, for you Debby becoming a wife, a mother, a model parent, most of all for taking on the role of caregiver to an aging parent. Lest we not forget the pets (birds, cats, and dogs) that graced our lives with their love for us for which we can never adequately say thank you for. It was their unconditional love that was such an integral part of us the depth of which we never once could have imagined.