With my mother’s passing, I’ve been depressed for over a month. After my father died, we honored his wishes to be cremated. When Mom died, we honored the reason for Dad’s request. We buried his urn with her. In a way, it was like losing him again.
I found myself thinking about one of the biggest regrets of my life. When I was a child, Dad worked as the head bargeman on a boat that moved ammonia barges along the Mississippi River. He was gone for thirty days at a time, so we only got to spend half of the year with him.
When I was maybe ten or eleven, Dad’s boat was anchored in Caruthersville, MO, without a captain for three days. Since it was only a half an hour’s drive from our home in Campbell, Dad got permission for us to come and stay on the boat with him.
For the first day, it was pretty cool. Being on a boat in the river was neat for a kid. We were given permission to stay in the captain’s quarters. Mom and Dad slept in the captain’s large bed and I slept on a fold-out couch that was surprisingly comfortable. The refrigerator had just about everything in it that you could think of to eat. Mom even cooked a meal for everyone on the ship, which numbered eleven people, including her and me.
But, by the second day, I was bored silly. This was before the days of Gameboys and Kindles. I hadn’t taken any books or toys with me and had only a notepad and pen to occupy myself. I began to hint around that I wanted to go home. This hinting soon became begging.
Finally, my parents relented. I can still remember an older worker taking us back to the dock in a motorboat. I still remember the look of sheer disappointment on my dad’s face as he kissed us both goodbye. I got home a day earlier that we would have. I got to play with my Transformers and G.I. Joes.
It was only one day.
But, since my dad died back in 2006, I’ve remembered that disappointed, hurt look on his face that day. And I would give just about ANYTHING for that one day back.
Take every chance that you have to be with your loved ones. You never know how much time you have with them.