Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 6, 2009
Reach out today to avoid a future of 'if onlys'
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Lent is upon us again and sadly at this time of reflection many of us scan the many years and pray constantly for guidance. Recently I thought of my own mom and dad who were devout Catholics.
Thinking about one’s mom and dad is an exercise I highly recommend. Mom and Dad never missed Mass and I remember my dad taking me as a very young child to daily Lenten Mass at the basilica in Halifax.
A few years ago I happened to be in Halifax visiting relatives when my older sister brought out my mother’s old St. Joseph Daily Mass Missal with all the prayers in it. Hidden among the pages were two things — a crushed rose from the casket of my little sister Carole Anne who passed away at one year old when I was five and a picture of me when I left for Alberta at the age of 22.
That was 50 years ago.
At 22, one doesn’t always think that parents are going to die soon. In my case I was wrong. I had been in Alberta for 10 months when I got a call that my mother was dying.
RUSH TO HALIFAX
I was shocked and ashamed in a way because I had not been in close contact with my mom whom I loved very much. I rushed back to Halifax on the quickest flight I could arrange, got a taxi from the airport and rushed to the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, took the elevator to the ninth floor and rushed into my mom’s room.
Mom had not been removed from the room. She lay there as if sleeping. My mother had passed away only 25 minutes before.
I was beside myself. I was filled with “ if onlys” — if only I had phoned more, if only I had written more, if only I had taken the time to tell my mom I loved her more.
As I looked around the room I recognized her Daily Catholic Missal, her rosary and there on a table was a photo of myself — the son who had left home.
I was devastated for I knew I had been more than 25 minutes late – I had been perhaps a whole lifetime late of taking my mom for granted. I wondered then how many of us do take the time of living in the now and telling our loved ones that we love them.
Sadly I wondered, as well, how many of us live in the world of “if only” where we treat Jesus the same way. Just a passing nod until something serious or sacramental happens like a Baptism, wedding or funeral.
As the years have passed I have always remembered my mom and never fail to tell those close to me that I love them or that God loves you.
Perhaps that is what each of us needs in this conflicted world — during this Lent and every day of our lives — a sense of belonging not aloneness, a sense of happiness not sadness, a sense of unwavering belief not disillusionment.
And when someone asks, “When was the last time you told those close to you, that you loved them?” you will be able to say, “Today!”
(Pat McDonald is a retired school principal living in Rocky Mountain House.)