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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time Flies


He came knocking Friday dusk. My Father. He said he came to say good-bye. It was true that he and my Mother had been packing their belongings all week to be ready for the moving van due Saturday. I had been helping them. I would be helping them tomorrow. So. It wasn’t that my Father was saying good-bye exactly. He came to say something else, something more.

We sat in my living room. Dusk gave way to night. The lamp from the kitchen bathed his face in half-light as he sat and spoke quietly. The tone was melancholy. It wasn’t a conversation per se. More a soliloquy. He spoke about his life, the triumphs, joys and hardships...and his exhaustion. I saw clearly how a lifetime of manual labor had destroyed his vitality. I had been begging him to retire, daily witness to the damage done.

He didn’t want to leave. Didn’t want to leave his children. But he knew there was little more he could do for us, for we were adults now. I was in my early thirties, well-launched into my own orbit. True, the orbit was somewhat erratic, but I had achieved professional success, so much so that I now supported my parents. He knew his life’s work was substantially complete.

I said little, for I knew he knew how it broke my heart to contemplate the miles that would separate us (though I came to criss-cross those miles often enough). We both knew he desperately needed respite from Life’s travails.

In truth, I don’t remember the specifics of this conversation. What I remember, vividly, was the astonishment in his voice when he said “Time flies SO fast.”

Four years later, he was dead.

* * *

I started flashing on this conversation several months ago. I hadn’t thought of it for decades. Then it came to me one silent night and has lingered ever since. Three decades later, and I find myself exhausted, seeking respite from Life’s travails. Only now, do I truly understand what my Father felt.

* * *



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10 Comments:

Blogger Fiona said...

He was oh so right, Jonas. Time flies SO fast. And I think it gets faster, the older we get.

Mon Nov 28, 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

Beautifully written, Jonas.

Mon Nov 28, 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

We have so many choices in this life. Work. How much work. Distance. How much distance can we accept. Love. Who? How long? It's so easy to see clearly over our shoulder. Ahead is much more foggy. I want your vitality to be a real thing today. Mine too. I want it too.

Mon Nov 28, 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kass said...

This post is so true and touching. I want to reach out and touch it again and again. I'm back (I think).

Tue Nov 29, 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

It's good that your father's words came back to you. They are a legacy he went out of his way to leave to you. I suspect he knew that the da would come when you would need them, need to be reminded that life is short, too short to let any precious moments pass

Lovely piece, Jonas.

Tue Nov 29, 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

Just Thanks.

Fri Dec 02, 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger JLTan said...

... making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16

Mon Dec 05, 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

You are such a wonderful writer. You always move me. Time does fly by so quickly. Every moment is precious. You have reminded me of that today.

Mon Dec 05, 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger rebecca said...

Very heartfelt. You brought a sad smile to my face. We've all been there with our parents and we all only come to realize the veracity of their words when we reach their age. I remember my mother saying same, and now I say the same as well. I am 53 and feel the truth of my mortality more than ever, and feel as if I have not lived enough and have not accomplished enough and sometimes put my head in the ground not wanting to face my 60s and 70s.

Wed Dec 14, 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Beautiful, Jonas.

Thu Dec 15, 09:04:00 PM  

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