Some of us have those moments in time where we wish we could bottle them and keep them forever. Whether it’s the birth of a child and watching that child grow or spending time with loved ones that are no longer a part of our lives, we all have those memories and moments that we wish were still available. Sometimes I would give anything to have my mom’s mom back on Earth. I know the woman would be super old right now, but I miss her cooking. I can still smell the buttery, flaky buttermilk biscuits that she would bake from scratch. I still have the aroma of the freshly baked peach cobbler that still fills my nostrils with the pleasant scent of home and love combined into one. Or the essence of her banana pudding that still lingers in my mouth from the years gone by that I can still taste. Or her infamous pound cake, which had so much butter in it that you could gain about 20 pounds just by smelling and looking at it. Those senses and aromas I haven’t smelled since she left. But the memories from even 30 years ago are still as vivid as if I were still a child in her kitchen watching her bake on the woodstove. It’s incredible how their special moments never leave me.
Then there are the memories of my dad’s dad, who adored me even though I was 1 of 6 grandchildren that he had. Out of all of us, I was the only one who would go fishing with them. Every single one of his grandchildren was a girl except for one boy. And Ben, my cousin, had no interest in fishing at that point because he was too young. Grandpa had a special spot for me in his heart. I was so much of a tomboy that I reminded him a lot of his sisters. He was tight with me because he recognized their spirit in me. I was older than most of my cousins, and I had that as an advantage. Only one other cousin was older than I was, but her parents had divorced when she was young, and she wasn’t a part of my life for a very long time. I regret the ears I didn’t get to know her growing up. But it was a bitter divorce, and divorce has never been easy on anyone, least of all the children involved. She was no exception. When grandpa and I would go to the beach, he made sure that I had a fishing license and could fish with him. I hated baiting the hook, so he always did it for me. Sometimes I would get a nibble, and other times I wouldn’t, but to have the time with him spoke volumes. He had a pet nickname for me, and I didn’t disappoint. He referred to me as a monkey on more than one occasion because I would climb trees and be with nature. He’s been gone since 2002, and I still see him in my dreams. When people pass on, they have a way of lingering behind the memories and moments they leave imprinted on our hearts.
Even my former marriage contains special moments in time. I don’t regret my marriage. I could never regret loving someone so much that their happiness was more important to me than mine. What I do regret is that we both lost our way. Instead of talking to each other, we spoke to everyone else. We didn’t fight the way you should for a relationship, and today he is married to someone else with a child, and I hope he’s happy. I’m pleased with my life now, but it took a long time to get that way. Strength is something that we all learn to increase in skill or fold. I choose to be strong and happy.
The realization that I didn’t have to have somebody in my life to be happy took a long time to come to fruition, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now I’m at the point in my life where I can enjoy those special moments with the people who mean the most to me. I’m not too fond of Covid for the people that it has taken from me. I know so many people who have gotten the vaccines and died from them, and I am angry with the government for forcing those vaccines upon people only to have them die. I know the vaccines are supposed to help people, but to have my friends taken because of a damn disease when they took the precautions frustrates me because they thought they did the right thing. I know so many people have said that getting the vaccine helps prevent Covid but tell that to my friends in their thirties and forties who died. These men and women were vaccinated, so no one accepts responsibility for their deaths. I’ve had to take those moments that I remember and recall with them and cherish them because I will never get them back. Nor will their family members and friends.
Cancer and other diseases are other issues that are a sore spot for me. More people than ever are dealing with different types of cancer, and we expect to put up a good fight. Still, so much research should have already found cures, and instead, pharmaceutical companies are backing a killing just treating these diseases. When my dad received his diagnosis, we thought it was Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is bad enough, but going on several years of a misdiagnosis that was a stage for brain tumor infuriated me because my father went from fully functioning to vegetative in 8 months. When I lost my job with Habitat, I became his full-time caregiver. I knew nothing about caregiving, but I learned real quick. I have the moments that I had with my dad etched in my memory, but some are not pleasant. Cancer had my father saying things that he would never have stated otherwise. Those memories are what remain. We had many moments due to the disease’s progression because medical science cannot treat and cure something that should have cures by now. Dad said everything jumbled like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces all over his brain. He had difficulty talking and conveying what he was thinking and feeling. No matter how anyone perceives cancer, it sucks. I only say that because even though his brain tumor was not one that a drug can currently fix, all of this research has been going on for decades, and we are still no closer to finding the right cure. All that remains are memories of moments and time in my heart’s mind.
Everybody tells me to put my faith in science. I believe that science is concrete, but I also believe that science doesn’t know everything in the universe. There will always be forces of nature that work against science. And there will always be people who expect you to believe them when they say “trust me,” which means when somebody says that to me, I run like hell the other way. There are two things I don’t trust – the government and the phrase “trust me.”
We’re all supposed to be in control of our bodies and what we do with them. But when diseases ravage our body to where we can’t control the outcome, it’s scary. The moments that we hold dear with those we love have to be treasured because they are not guaranteed. The memories I have of my family and friends that have come and gone are something that I don’t want eradicating from my memory. Also, I don’t desire their deaths to be in vain. With all of the different diseases that we faced, I have learned to ask a lot of questions. Sometimes those questions aren’t popular with people. Because at the end of the day, we are all responsible for our actions. Maybe that’s why I’m so angry with the government for not taking responsibility for their actions in the virus process. I don’t disagree that people need to protect themselves against the virus; I can’t entirely agree with how it’s happening.
One of the most challenging moments in my life came when a few of my friends died unexpectedly. I had just been out to dinner with them a week before; a car accident killed three, diabetes took two, and some died from complications of Covid. How do you know when the moments that you spend with people are going to be your last? If anything, you don’t, but you try to enjoy your time with folks because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. All we have is the hero now, and we have to make the most of that time. So if there are people in your life that you cherish, please reach out and let them know how much they mean to you. If this damn disease has taught me anything, it is never to take a single day for granted. If I had known that the moments that I was going to get with my dad or my grandparents would be the last that I’d have, I think I would have embraced them a little better. Take the time to enjoy the people in your life. Learn to live in the moment. Have a great day, everyone.