What’s Really Important?

The definition of “echoes” is as follows: “A sound or series of sounds caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener. It can also be a close parallel or repetition of an idea, feeling, style, or event.”

I have been in my parents home that was once filled with their voices. I was alone listening to the memories that now filled the space. Echoes of times long ago seemed like the last note of a symphony, reverberating and suspended in thin air.  It’s a captured feeling, sentence, or event etched in my mind with a picture so clear and so simple in its essence, and yet so powerful in its substance.

I see the meal being cooked by my mom. She toils over a hot stove to produce another dinner for the three of us. I wish I’d asked her more questions about recipes, her life, her love for music then I did. I wish I had taken my eyes off myself to enjoy the beauty that was the essence of whom she was.

Now I stand in front of that same stove and think about the love that went into each and everything she did. Gifts come in many different forms. Those gifts are the echoes that reverberate around a hollow room helping me to remember that which I took for granted so long ago.

When I’m in the yard pulling weeds I sometimes think of my dad. We would pull weeds for hours on end. I thought at the time it was such a tedious task not realizing the conversations I could have had about his life. His musical career, his growing up in a small town in Kansas and how he came to learn the violin, were just some of the topics I could have explored. Now on that same hill we pulled weeds I hear the echoes of laboring in silence as I was too young to grasp the importance of how short our lives together would be.

My mom and dad filled our home with a protective, nurturing, and musical bond that was strenghtened by their humble backgrounds. Morality, honor, and commitment were the echoes of teachings engrained in their personas. Each element was enhanced by the strong devotion to their family.

As I walk through our home in San Rafael by myself, I think of the last moments spent with all three of us in a joyful holiday setting. Christmas of 1990 with my mom in a wheelchair and my dad and I making dinner.  As we served it, both of us realized this could be the last time we shared our blessed family together.

I hear that emotion as an echo that rings its harmonic dirge. As time moves beyond the past and into the future I see the many faces that lit up when my parents played music together.

As clear as day I see my parents friends drink their cordials at the end of a wonderful party, culiminating with a concert. I see my dad’s violin sway and my mom joyfully acompanying him on the piano.  They most certainly made beautiful music together.

Now I stand alone near the end of my own life. I’m not afraid of the end as I see it as a new beginning. A most wonderful beginning that involves seeing those which are no longer with us.

We do not know when our experation date is, but understand the gift that is our life. Soon there will be the home I once lived in, and those that I loved and cared about, sifting through the memories with me.

To them I can only say, “Remember the wonderful laughter we shared that will echo in our hearts for as long as forever is.”