for one single fishing yesterday.*
If the Ghost of Christmas Past was to appear and grant me a single step back in time and place, I might very well return to the day pictured above, sometime in the summer of 1982, on a quiet North Carolina farm pond, to re-live a delightful afternoon chasing bluegill with my father and my two sons, Greg and Andy. This particular image is dear to me as the two patient anglers, my dad, Andy, and my youngest son, also Andy, are no longer with us. Each was taken away long before their time and I miss them dearly. You often don't know how precious a day can be until it's gone so, if I could return to this one, I'd savor every second.
This picture returns to my consciousness regularly, but particularly this week as Sunday, the 13th, is the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting, an evening in which we place a candle in the window in remembrance of the children that have been lost to us.
Here in our home, besides celebrating the much too brief, but incredibly joyful, time we had with young Andy, we also light the candle in remembrance of all of our loved ones who have passed on; Andy senior who put that first fishing pole in my hands, Mary's father Don who was so kind to me in difficult times, her step-brother Rob who is probably skinning St. Peter on the back nine at Providence Country Club, and, for the first time, my mother Helen who took that next big dance step early this year. They are all deeply loved and painfully missed.
The holiday season is a time to hold close those that we love, knowing not what the future has in store for us, and to hold dear the memories of those that left an indelible stamp on our lives before their departure. Hug those around you, acknowledge those that you have lost, and help those who may be struggling through their first holiday in the absence of a loved one.
'Tis the season for reflection and compassion. Sunday, light a candle.
* My apologies to the incredible Janis Joplin and writers Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster for paraphrasing this poignant line from Me and Bobby McGee. It simply couldn't have been expressed any better.