I’ve attended two funerals in only a one week span and although both deaths were the result of old age that doesn’t make it any less emotional for the families involved. It’s unfortunate how sometimes we need tragedy to jolt us into remembering what’s important. Most of us seem to be on autopilot, rushing through our days with no time for the things and people we actually value. Our Facebook feeds are flooded with inspiring quotes on how to live every day like it’s your last because we need a constant reminder to go beyond the motions and savour the moments.
Death is inevitable, so the sum of everyday should really equate to a life well lived focused on those who matter. I live in regret of things to come because I don’t live by that philosophy. I’m unnecessarily preoccupied by the stresses of daily life, primarily trying to juggle work and family that I’ve forgotten how to savour the moments and allocate my time appropriately. Mostly, I live in regret of not spending enough time with my parents. Something I can actually change because, thankfully, they’re still around to enjoy and learn from.
My father lived through India’s partition. He fled his home as a baby with his 13 brothers and sisters, settling in a refugee camp until the Indian government sold his family a home. His own father died when he was just a little boy leaving his mother to fend for her and her kids. He was so determined to make something of himself that the first $20 he ever earned was used to buy a passport.
And my mother? At 27 years old she was instructed by her parents that her uncle had bought her a one way ticket to Canada. She, being the obedient daughter, obliged and left her entire family behind to settle in a foreign country she had absolutely no desire to live in. How much more do I know if these stories? Not enough. That’s the part that really irks me because every day that passes is another opportunity lost to learn more about who they are and essentially where I come from. These are the telling stories that need to be passed on to the next generations, to ground them and give them perspective. I have the time right now and I know if I don’t take it, I will continue to live in regret.