Horrible tragedy reminds us to cherish time with family

Published 8:40 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One of my favorite songs is “The Living Years” by Mike + the Mechanics. The lyrics of the song describe an argument that the song’s narrator had with his father, which resulted in a grudge that he held for years. Unfortunately, the father dies before he has a chance to make up with his son. As the lyrics state, “It’s too late, when we die, to admit we don’t see eye to eye.”

It is a song that I have kept in mind many times, when I have had the occasional argument or rift with my own parents or family members. I personally never try to leave a visit on bad terms, and always attempt to end every phone conversation with family members with “I love you.”

It’s another theme that came to my mind, after the horrible tragedy that took place in Aurora, Colo., last weekend. In the early hours of Friday, July 20, a gunman opened fire in a crowded theater — at last count, the toll of the carnage was 14 deaths and 56 injuries. It truly was another reminder that life is short and we should cherish the moments that we have with our loved ones, because we never know how many more chances we may get to spend with them.

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It just so happened that this horrible event took place at the same time that I was arriving in Jacksonville, Fla., to visit my Aunt Carole for the weekend. My brother and mother were also visiting her, because my mom recently had to get some treatment at the Mayo Clinic there. My brother had flown in Friday evening, so we were able to spend a few days together.

Saturday evening, we were also able to visit another aunt (Aunt Pat) and my cousin who lives in Jacksonville, sharing a delicious dinner at a local Thai restaurant. I was trying to remember the last time I had seen Aunt Pat, and I’m pretty sure it was all the way back in 2000 when she joined us on a trip to England and France.

To be fair, before moving to Bainbridge, I had never lived very close to Jacksonville, so it was pretty difficult to find the time to go see my aunts and cousins. However, now that I only live three hours away, I definitely want to make a point to visit them more often.

Sunday, my brother and I were able to do some sight-seeing in St. Augustine, including the famous old Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos. I had visited before, when I was much younger, but it was certainly even more interesting to see again now that I am (hopefully) wiser and more mature. Even more importantly, it was a chance for me and my brother to just hang out for a few hours together. He currently lives in Missouri with my parents, and I hadn’t seen him since last Christmas.

July was truly a wonderful month for me — I was able to see my mom, dad and sister around July 4 when they visited me here in Bainbridge; I was able to see my dad again July 14-15; and I was able to see my mom, brother and extended family this past weekend in Jacksonville. I truly enjoyed getting the chance to spend time with my family, and am happy to say that I was able to leave each visit with a hug and an “I love you” to each of them.

After all, it’s too late, when we die, to admit we don’t see eye to eye.

Justin Schuver is the managing editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at justin.schuver@thepostsearchlight.com.