A legacy worth living for

20 Apr

A friend pointed out to me today that in numerous religions from varying parts of the world it is believed that after passing the soul exists in a waiting period for exactly 30 days. One full month, waiting, in that space between heaven and earth. Whether or not you believe in heaven isn’t relevant because what I’m getting at isn’t about religion or really about death even. It’s about life. My life and the lives of my children, about my husband, and how we will memorialize the life within his father’s 62 short years with every thought, every word, and every action we make from now on.

Our time here is precious. And when it ends for someone you love all wind is lost; your breath, the breeze, the atmosphere. Space and time implode and never will return to the way you knew them to be just one small moment ago. Days pass, then weeks, and somewhere in-between you realize that the world is still turning, that it has a momentum which will move on with or without you. So you hold on…or you don’t. Some hours are easier than others. Then more are easier than not. You wonder if maybe someday what people say will be true for you too, that your life will return to some semblance of normal – never as it was before – but normal. At least that’s what they say.

And to that I reply…I guess I don’t want things to be normal. Now or ever again. Because what I found in the 30th day after my father-in-law’s passing must be something he wanted me to have. It’s something I’ve been chasing for years, from the moment I became a caffeine driven business owning mother of two, maybe. Something that I ached for and tried to grasp at for years but could never seem to possess for long before letting it slip through my hands. With as much as I strove for, it was the one thing that consistently eluded me until now. And I have him to thank for it.

Last week I canceled two of my son’s extracurricular classes. I didn’t schedule new ones, or fill the time with more “to-do’s”. This means that for the three days in the middle of the week, I am free to bring my boys home from school at 3:10 and spend the entire afternoon with them. No agenda, no plans, no expectations. Just time. Time together. At the risk of revealing my dark underbelly, I will admit that I struggled always just to “be”. In a park, at the beach, and yes, even at home with my children. Multitasking was not just a tool, it was a compulsion. Checking e-mail on my phone, tapping at the keys of my laptop, nose stuffed in a book. With all of the commitment that I had made for my physical body to be present for my children before and after school hours, my mind  was oftentimes preoccupied, stuck in a cloud, otherwise engaged.

Until, suddenly, I returned. Present. Intent only upon the seconds that I have been afforded in this day; acknowledging that no touch is more valuable, no word more meaningful than the ones we share this minute. I wish I could identify the switch that’s been flipped or bottle a tonic to cure the human condition I was suffering. I wince to think of the hours of thought and analysis it would have saved me. But I guess that it’s fitting, coming from the girl who needs to feel it herself to know it as truth.

I’m so sorry that it took the loss of a loved one to make me believe in presence, in pace, in peace. But I thank him for a gift and a legacy that will touch the lives of his grandchildren. A gift which I swear to pass onto them, through them.

Rest in Peace, Raymond Edward Perrault. Your legacy is safe with us.

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10 Responses to “A legacy worth living for”

  1. rose armand April 20, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    Powerful words of wisdom and truth, dearest Anjalé. How blessed you are to have come to the realization of living in the present and ‘in the presence’.

    • FreeTheMom April 20, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Present and “in the presence”…I think I found my new mantra!

  2. tony Trutanich April 20, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Well said Anj… I agree 100%. Its not the amount of time we spend with our children, its the quality of time we spend with our children… Our new favorite thing is “picnic time with Dad” . We grab a big blanket, lay it out on the grass, and we read books, play with puzzles, tell stories, etc.. That one hour of Picnic Time is far more rewarding than 100 hours of “killing Time” with my boys..
    Im thinking back to the memories I have of me and my Dad and every memory that i cherish is of a time when it was quality time, not killing time..
    I never realised it till just now but even the phrase “Killing Time” says it all.. If we r killing time, that’s exactly what we are doing, we are killing the thing (time) that as we get older we cherish the most…
    I think a higher power has led me to read your post and respond because for now on when i am with my children I am going to ask myself ” I have this moment with my boys, am I Truly spending Quality time, or am I just Killing Time.?”
    Anj, I had no idea Kevins Dad died, I am very sorry. My Dad died 4 1/2 years ago and i know how hard it is.. I will write Kevin a short note, there was one thing i did that has kept my Dad close to my heart daily, That i would love to share with him..
    Btw, Anna and I, starting last week have brought back one thing I learned in our couples group from last year. We have decided that we will each have time with each son individually. So once or twice a week Anna will take one boy and have individual time with him while i spend time with the other boy. It’s only been a week but i LOVE the time spent with Anthony or Tristan individually, its so rewarding and they seem to open up so much more..
    Anyways, I know i am rambling.. Thanks for sharing, and its amazing when u think about how your Father in Law has indirectly made me a better parent today and hopefully my post here will make someone else think about Quality Time vs Killing Time.. Huge hug Tony T

    • FreeTheMom April 20, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Wow, thanks Tony. I agree wholeheartedly with every word that you wrote. Big hugs to you and the fam.

      • tony Trutanich April 20, 2012 at 9:19 am #

        “Quality Time vs Killing Time” “Presents vs Precence(sp)” These might be worthy or calling “Big 5” haha

  3. rick armand April 20, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    rest in peace indeed ray…you were truly humble and kind….:)

    i’m not sure about this living in the present and in the presence stuff though…

    that would mean i couldn’t bring the past into the present which means i couldn’t bring my past grievances and judgements into the now anymore… which really sucks because i need to hold onto my version of how i was slighted so i can blame something outside myself for whatever it is that’s driving me crazy…
    jeez…no way…
    i need my fear based ego driven delusions… i like blame and condemnation…
    it’s a very familiar prison (i’ve been unjustly placed here by the way) where as the victim i can defend my angry doubt and justify my version of reality where i fear the love i so deeply desire…
    no frickin way…i’m afraid of being hurt…
    if we all lived in the present and presence we wouldn’t feel separate or afraid anymore which means we would sense unity and responsibility for ourselves and others… and our planet …. very bad for business…
    the presence would tell us to forgive and love…that we take care of ourselves by caring for others…
    crap…no way…
    too egalitarian and again…bad for business….
    i want more “stuff”…it’s who i am…
    it makes me feel superior

    • FreeTheMom April 24, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Oh, you…

      …and I say that with love 🙂

  4. Rysa P April 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

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