06 July, 2010

Don't Let Life Pass You By

My sister (June) and brother in-law (J.T.) who raised me from the time I was eleven and are grandparents to our children are up visiting with us for a few days, with their twin grandsons, who are my great nephews. It's really great having them in the house with us for awhile and spending some much needed time with them. Yesterday we all went up to Bettendorf, Iowa to spend some time with my oldest sister Doris and her kids, Kristi and Doug and their families. We only got to see them for about 5 hours, but it was really great having a little time to be with them. As we were sitting in Doris' house and then driving back home, I was thinking that I have let "life" get in the way of the really important things. It seems we are always "too busy" to get up to see them, even though they are barely an hour away from us. That's got to change.

Let me bring you up to speed... my father passed away when I was five years old and my mom died about 6 and a half months later. I, along with my brothers Danny and Gordon (Bud to most of you) and my sister Carol all went to live with Doris and her husband Larry, and their kids, Doug and Kristi. Doug is just 4 months younger than me, and for the next 5 years of our lives, we were pretty much raised as twins, and tighter than you can imagine. We were inseparable back in those days... until Doris and Larry divorced. Carol got married at that time and stayed in Davenport, but Danny and I went to live with June and J.T., and Bud went to live with another brother Bob. (Too involved to go into at this time, but there were 10 of us brothers and sisters!) We lived in the Saint Louis area after that and and while only 3 and a half hours away. (Longer in the pre-interstate days) we seldom got to see Doug and Kristi for years. It has always bothered me, but yesterday it hit me as I sat across the room from Doug, that it is my fault that I've now let 40 years go by... most of those years where I could get in my own car and drive... 40 years that I've not really spent time with my "brother". I'm filled with such deep regret today. I was best man in his wedding 20 years ago this past May, and I have to admit, I barely know his lovely wife Donna. Some of those years we were far away as Cleveland, Tennessee, but for the last 9+ years we've only been 2 and a half hours away, and the last 6 years, only an hour away. I can't undo those 40 years, but I'm vowing to make some changes. I owe Doris so much. She and Larry made some HUGE sacrifices with their lives to take in all of us kids. I'm sure the stress and strain of that weight contributed greatly to their divorce. Doris has always blamed herself for breaking us up. I've told her... but I don't think she believes... it was not her fault. If you happen to read this Doris, I want you to know I love you more than you could ever know, and I appreciate more than words can say what you gave up to give us a family.

I wanted to write this today because I'm guessing that there are many others out there who are "too busy" for family. I'm urging you... begging you... don't let life pass you by. Slow down and MAKE TIME for family. Don't let regret creep up on you like it has me. Doris, Doug and Donna... Kristi, Mike, Haley and Carter... if you are reading this... I want my family back. You guys are all important to me... I love you all, and I ask you to forgive me for the wasted years and I hope you guys are ready to let our family back into your families.

See you guys soon... I promise!

1 comment:

dina dardeen said...

This is so true Darrell, You know I have cousins that live only a few miles from me, and it seems that we are all so into our own lives that we hardly have time for each other. I found that this is true with our church family as well. Seems we see each other on Sunday and hardly connect during the week. Yet we say "love ya". Priorities need to change. I think Jesus would have found the time. Don't you? He loved so deeply that he gave his life for us. And we cannot even give a little of our time. Thanks for posting this. It is a reminder for us to Love one another. God bless you.