My brother moved out of our house when I was in the 8th grade. He joined the Navy, he left, he never came back to our house. He served most of his 20 year Navy career in Japan. It was almost unheard of for someone to be stationed in one place for so long. Japan fit him. He had always been drawn to the culture and to the people.
Shortly before his Navy career came to an end, he came back to the United States with his new wife and her son. They settled in San Diego, because that’s where her family lived. He came to visit us a few times. We never went to visit him.
In fact, in his 10 years of marriage, we have never met his wife or son or extended family. We have talked to his wife and son on Skype, but as far as face to face meetings, it has never happened.
In 2 weeks, my parents, 3 of my children and I will do what we have never done. We will travel to San Diego. We will meet my brother’s wife and son and extended family. Unfortunately, he will not be there, except in spirit.
My brother passed away unexpectedly on Friday.
Why did we wait?
Oh, you know, the usual excuses. No time. No money. No desire.
But all of a sudden he passes away and we have the time, money and desire to go there. (Okay, REALISTICALLY I don’t have the money. With 4 children and another on the way and 5 months of unemployment for my husband… we are fresh out. Thankfully my parents are taking us as tag-a-alongs) It’s a little backwards if you ask me.
The thing is, I don’t feel like it actually bothered my brother that we didn’t ever come there. He has never been the “gather the family and shower each other with tons of gooey love” type person. I also think that he felt like all of us… that there is always tomorrow.
Unfortunately, there’s not. There will NEVER be an opportunity for me to see my brother in San Diego. There will NEVER be a moment when my brother introduces me to his wife and son. He will NEVER have me over to his house. He never called me on the phone. Now he never will.
I do not feel guilty for what I didn’t do. I can’t do that. It’s counter-productive to anything God wants for my life. I am not even sure that I can say “If I knew then what I know now, I would do it differently”, because I don’t know that I would. I have a feeling that as I get older, and my kids start moving onto their own lives, and we magically have some money, I will feel sadness that I don’t have the opportunity to spend that time or money visiting my brother. Rather than feeling guilty, I am learning that tomorrow doesn’t always come for everybody. Sometimes tomorrow comes, and the person you thought would be there forever, isn’t.
What are you waiting for?
(I do think this is human nature. We put off things due to lack of time, money, desire, resources, etc, but when it comes to crunch time, we are able to produce all those things we thought we didn’t have. It’s kind of a silly way to live)