Over the holidays I went to Ottawa to see my mother and my brother Don. It was a difficult trip, as my father passed away during last year’s holiday. Any time you lose a family member it is difficult, and it lasts for far longer than a single turn around the sun.
Returning to Montreal, I introduced Don to an old friend. He talked about losing his own father in 2018. He shared that his father’s death was even more painful since they had lived together during his last years, and they had become far more than father and son. They were also best friends.
My dad once told me the same thing about his relationship with my brother. Talking with my friend helped me. Many of us don’t work to make a relationship like this happen until time passes us by.
During the visit with my mother a man came to our table. Paul said he had prayed with mom for a miracle. His wife had dementia and would sleep for two or three days straight. But on Christmas morning she woke up, and for the next two days knew who he was and the journey through life that they had shared.
Paul told us that this was a miracle, and that it happened because of the prayers he had shared with my mom. In telling this story, he wasn’t the only one with tears in their eyes.
What was a miracle to him is something many of us take for granted. To be able to talk to family and friends, and they know you, remember what they have done with you – good and bad – memories and love shared through the journey together. Many of us do not realize what a miracle it is to be able to share that love and friendship that we all take for granted.
Think about it. To be able to talk to your mother, father, brother, sister and children and they can respond in a meaningful way doesn’t seem like a difficult interaction, but it could be in a situation where we would pray for a miracle in the way that Paul experienced it.
You may not have the same hopes, prayers or family support that Paul and my mother prayed for to have a real Christmas miracle. It happened regardless of the way one views their relationship with the Creator. Their actions and prayers were an experience that drew people together in many ways.
Things that seem like miracles to others are something the rest of us never really think about when talking to friends or family. Yes, we miss those who have gone before us and that never will stop. But those who are still here but have difficulty remembering us or being the people who we wanted to be with for the rest of our lives still deserve our love.
We want the miracles Paul and my mother prayed for, but we know they are few and far between. Paul misses the partner who he wished would have continue to walk with him along their life path in life. But he had her once again for a couple days and that was a miracle for him.
In this new year, we should try seeing all our relationships with spouses, children, parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends and others as something extraordinary. Our lives would have little meaning without being able to share them with people we love.
Those things we take for granted are not a guarantee of what will be. Talk to those around you, no matter what age they are. Never let regret be a part of your life because you did not say what you wanted to before it was too late. Being too late to act or speak shouldn’t be a regret we carry until our own last breath.