It seems that at this time of year, we say goodbye to many around us. The holidays can be a time of celebration for many and yet at the same time, a time to remember, a time to pause and reflect and - on occasion - a time of great sadness.
Once again, I write from a place of quiet reflection. Today, the mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, left this world.
Michelle and I have been friends for 35 years and I have known her mother since I was a wee girl of 11. As I think of Jacqueline, I remember a petite lady (not so unlike my own departed mother) who was a surrogate mum figure when I was at her house, visiting my friend. I remember her voice and her lovely German accent like it was only yesterday. I remember that she talked to me and listened when I shared things with her. I remember that she genuinely cared.
I didn't see her much when I grew into my 20's and moved away, yet she remembered me and sent me a wedding gift, along with her good wishes on the day that I married.
I heard of her through Michelle over the years and knew that Alzheimer's had claimed her, as with so many others. I cannot imagine the pain that must be felt when your own mother no longer remembers you. I lost my mother when I was just 24 years old but she knew me up until the time that she left this world.
As I sit and remember our childhood, the games we played, the TV shows that we watched and the things that we talked about while growing from grade 5 schoolgirls into pre-teens, then into teenagers and finally - into the women that we would become - wives and mothers - it seems unfathomable that Michelle and I are now close to the ages that our respective mothers were when she and I became friends so long ago.
Time is passing us by so quickly. Thirty-plus years have melded into memories that ebb and flow... friendships and relationships that have grown apart then grown back together, ultimately withstanding the test of time.
Once again, I am lost in my own thoughts as I hear those around me repeating, 'I'm too busy', 'I don't have time' - to the question, 'When are we going to get together over the holidays?' We can be so quick to dismiss time with those closest to us, thinking that we will always have plenty of time to do it... someday. Only 'someday' doesn't always arrive...
I'd give anything to be able to see my mum and talk to her and hug her close and tell her that I love her. I would bet that Michelle would say the same thing.
If you have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones - do it! They might annoy or infuriate you sometimes... and delight you at others... but don't waste the time that we have been given. Time passes quickly and before you know it - that opportunity is gone...