By Dawn Onley
From the moment we are born, we start the journey of letting go.
Eventually, we are weaned from the bottle when we are old enough for solid food. We take our first steps and gain independence from our mom’s hip and daddy’s arms. We learn to ride a bike and, years later, a car.
We start kindergarten in the fall and high school in the spring. Or so it seems.
With each passing year, we transition to new phases of life, going from where we were to who we are, now. All of this change is exciting because at each new phase, we begin a new learning curve. We have new things to unravel and discover.
It’s melancholy as well. As we move onward to the new, the old slips away.
Each day, our kids need us less and less, until one day they are venturing out into the world on their own. They are heading off to college. They are launching careers. They are getting married. They are starting their own families.
Sure, kids will always need their parents, but at each new phase, it will never be like the phase preceding it.
This is the longing that sometimes aches.
One day, if we’re fortunate, our kids may help to take care of us, the way we take care of our own parents, who are now senior citizens or quickly approaching it.
It is a divine blessing to reach old age, but it’s not without its pain.
We see it in a parent’s face or hear it in a grandmother’s story – how they have carried the weight of life for years, even decades, without many of their loved ones by their side.
We don’t know how they did it — burying their parents, their spouses, their siblings, their friends, even their kids – until we reach that part of our journey and sadly, must let go.
The older we get, the more we are reminded of our own mortality; the more we cherish the blessings that we will someday lose.
With each passing day, we are all getting closer to death. One day, we will let go of what is and enter our last life phase and we don’t have a clue when that time will be.
If that’s not reason enough to start living with every fiber in our being, I don’t know what is.