“She told me that you had given her a hug that day.” I hear these words and my heart sinks. It is a feeling I find difficult to describe. Guilt. Regret. Shame. Did that mean so much to her that she would tell another about it? The truth is that I never thought I meant anything to her. I kept my distance. Respectful. But never made an effort to go close. I had my reasons, and they were valid. But now it seems as if they could have been surmounted. And now she has gone to another world where I cannot make amends. Could I have been kinder? Could I have been nicer? Definitely yes.
It is so simple to tell some one they matter to you. A smile. A hug. A nod of the head. A warm squeeze. And yet, years go by and one doesn’t bother to do what is taken for granted. People are around. They will stay there forever. Wrong. How horribly wrong!
Somedays when I am pottering around in the kitchen I reminisce a familiar recipe that my mother cooked. She didn’t bother to teach me. I was the daughter who was a no-good home maker. And I didn’t bother to ask. Part ego, part anger at being treated like a failure. I knew she would never utter a word of praise for anything I did. Did she really think I was a loser? I wouldn’t know. She never bothered to tell me. Too late now to ask.
I’m rummaging through my old letters. I find several which I have written. But haven’t posted. One stands out. A letter I wrote to my father. A letter which talked of decisions which he took and I followed obediently. The consequences. The trials and tribulations of that turbulent journey. I had second thoughts on whether he would have liked to read it. Or would I have hurt him? I didn’t send it across. But today it feels foolish. Why would the person who knew me best in my life, have not understood? He was the only person who never judged me for anything I did. Again, too much time has gone past. But I wish I had had that conversation with him.
As the pall of death meanders over us, the unpredictability of our existences is clearly visible. And to think we are expending all our remaining energy in reacting to rumours and ridiculing others. A cursory glance at social media is nauseating. So much hate! It is as if people don’t have lives of their own.
As the sand in the hourglass slides away, one realizes that everything is ephemeral. One might have just enough time to focus on the things and people that matter. Everything else is peripheral.
(Featured painting is titled “Transitory intellect” by Roch Fautch.)