The words to the song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle”, twist and squeeze my heart. The children are grown and gone…and now there’s only a cat in the cradle. Where did our babies go? Weren’t they in the cradle just yesterday?
Soaking Up Family Time
Remember when family just showed up at the house, sometimes with a casserole, sometimes with a suitcase for spending the night? They didn’t call first…they just knocked on the door, and we answered without knowing first who was on the porch. Tea was made, leftover fried chicken was warmed up, and extra chairs were pulled in from other rooms. Stories were shared while chatter and laughter filled the room, and a dusty box of old pictures, dried corsages, military medals and more treasures was pulled out of the closet. Children sat cross-legged on the floor, their minds and hearts soaking up stories they would tell their own children and grandchildren one day.
The Dusty Old Box
One of the most important lessons cancer has taught me is…
pay close attention…life is brief…spend time wisely.
I recently read a book about how we’ve exchanged “the important for the urgent”. Somehow we’ve allowed what seems urgent to consume our time, and there’s no time left for what’s important. In fact, we have started believing that what is most important is that which is urgent.
We don’t notice it’s happening until one day we watch as the children blow the dust off the old box in the closet and carefully lift off the lid. When we see only disappointment on their little faces, we look inside the box and find that there are no stories, no old pictures, no treasures…but rather copies of calendars, planners, post-it notes, and lists of things to do. It’s too late to change what’s stored in the box by that time. We can’t get those days back, and the people who lived the history are gone, along with the stories they loved to tell. Is this old box all there is to pass on to future generations?
Alzheimer’s & Unanswered Questions
When we knew Alzheimer’s was bearing down on Mom and Dad, I wish I had handled things differently. Why didn’t I ask more questions? Listen more closely? Write more down? I knew I had little time between the day of the diagnosis and the day their lives would be ravaged by the disease. I wanted to ask more questions, but I allowed fear to win…I was so afraid of them thinking I was preparing for what we all dreaded. Now, the questions remain unanswered, and the only ones who could answer them are gone. What would Mom and Dad have wanted to tell me, if only I had asked and listened closely?
If only time travel were real… I checked the cradle just to be sure, but only the cat was there.
Thank you for spending some of your precious time here,
Even if you’ve heard “The Cat’s in the Cradle”, it’s worth listening to again: https://youtu.be/KUwjNBjqR-c
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4
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I wrote Dancing Around the Chaos for those who are on the ALZ journey with loved ones…struggling to figure it out and dreading what the next day will bring…but too exhausted and afraid to think beyond the present. It happens to also be a sweet and tender love story that really happened, whose characters are real people. Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2v2paXK
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