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Remembrance and regret

February 1, 2021


Life, I have recently become aware, is too short to put off things that need to be done. Hardly an original thought, but some things have brought it very clearly to my mind. I was blessed to have three sisters, all older than I. Many years ago, for reasons that no longer really matter, I made the conscious decision to limit my contact with them and most other members of my family of origin. Late last week, I made another decision. I would contact my sisters and see if I could rebuild relationships that I had allowed to lie dormant for so very long. Though it wasn’t her given name, my oldest sister was called “Sunny” by those who loved and knew her. It was both an apt description of her personality and the most appropriate of names. She was perhaps the most gentle person I have ever met. Sadly, Sunny died just over seven years ago, under circumstances that were, at best, tragic. I, her brother, who should have been at least trying to support and protect here, was not there for her. There will be no renewing a relationship with her, at least not in this life. I have neither pictures nor any other kind of remembrance of her.

I do, however, have this picture. Allow me to explain.


A remembrance of my friend

I once knew a man named Daniel. He lived in the area outside Abilene. Daniel was an Apache, a husband, a father, a gunsmith, a knife-maker, and also my friend. He was fiercely independent, unapologetically proud of his heritage and without anything that spoke of pretension. Daniel had lived a hard life, sometimes barely on the legal side of the law and sometimes pretty far to the other side. He had run with some hard people and done some hard things. For some reason, the nature of which I can only guess, he considered me a friend and called me “brother,” an honor from a man like him. He preferred to work outside rather than inside. He liked to hunt, and shoot, and help his friends. Like me, he preferred to help others rather than ask for help from others. His life had left him with only one eye. Long before I met him he suffered a significant heart attack, but, not knowing how to quit, I guess, he had fought his way back to health. And then, a few Christmases ago, he had another major heart attack, this one of the sort sometimes referred to as a “widow maker.” In Daniel’s case, it was the literal truth. He held on for awhile. Some, though not all, family and friends were able to show up in time to bid him farewell, though he never regained consciousness. Shortly thereafter, he died. In his case, that was a good thing. Had he somehow survived he would have been a “cardiac cripple,” a status he would have been unable to tolerate. I have no doubt that had that occurred, he would have departed this life by his own hand. He simply was not a man to be taken care of. I’m glad I was able to tell my friend, my brother, goodbye, though I miss him greatly.

After his cremation, his widow asked me if I would like to have some of his ashes. I assured her that would be an honor (and it was). The picture above, then, is a picture of those ashes. He would approve of me calling it “a picture of my friend and brother, Daniel.”

Do not wait to do what must be done, especially as regards your relationships. Do it now, while there is yet time, so that when someone is gone, you can remember without regret. Regret sucks.

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  1. Well done.

  2. Beth Rabin permalink

    Very moving. Live in the moment and cherish the little things.

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