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It was ten years ago. I was living kind of haphazardly. It was not that I was reckless, but I was just sort of shuffling through life. I basically went to work and started the art of taking naps. Looking back it seems like I was wasting away my gift of life, seeing that I had a way of taking things for granted. I was thankful for what things I did have that were positives in my life. I did have some appreciation for what was, however I had no idea how fragile and fleeting things could be. On a Monday afternoon before Thanksgiving I received a phone call from my father. This within itself was a strange enough happening that I found surprising. I could not remember another time that my father had initiated a phone call to me.
I remember looking at my phone thinking it was strange to be getting a phone call from the house phone on a week day afternoon. My mother and I usually had our long conversations on Sundays. This was a tradition that started when I went away to college. She used to call me Saturday mornings. She was one of those people that would wake up singing on the weekend. I was not that type of person and it got worse when I discovered the freedom of college life. I am almost ashamed to admit that I fell asleep during one of those early Saturday phone calls. Early was probably around 11 AM. I probably passed out in my bunk as the sun was rising. I answered the phone with a greeting in the form of a question. Hello? I heard my father’s voice. My stomach began to quiver. I could hear desperation in his voice. He began to explain to me that my mother was sick and had to be taken away to the hospital. It was not until years later it was explained to me taken away meant she was subdued by emergency personnel and put in a straight jacket. This was a vision not easily accepted of your own mother. I am extremely thankful that I did not have to witness. I will probably never know what caused my mother’s episode but it was discovered that she had leukemia and a slew of other ailments. The months that followed were extremely difficult for her, and us, to watch as her health ebbed and flowed.
I did not make that trip up north that year for Thanksgiving as I had done every year since not living at home. And as the holiday season progressed that fall of 1997 I had no idea that it would be the ending punctuation to all that I had known as a child and as a son. It was my final step into being an individual and an adult that still had friends, family and relatives but I would be solely on my own to decide how I would continue on for the rest of my life. If I had known the Thanksgiving dinner the year before would have been my last family dinner with my parents and my sister I would have savored it a little more. I might have been more mindful of the memories that were being created. I am very thankful for good memories that were created in the chaos of what was my upbringing in that house on the lake in Oscoda, Michigan. Those events were the catalyst of what changed my outlook on the importance of things as they happen instead of realizing their importance after the fact. I use that phone call as a reminder of how delicate my perspective on living is.
~Melik, melik_2001 @ yahoo.com
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