Life’s Defining Moments
It’s Summer Book Giveaway Thursday. Read to the end of my post to see how you can enter.
There are defining moments in everyone’s life.
Graduating from high school and college, getting married, buying your first home (or dream) home, having your children.
There are the ones that aren’t considered good, too. Events we see as failures and the death of the ones we love.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first defining moment of my life. My dad suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 58. I was 17.
He didn’t get to see, and I didn’t have the opportunity, to have him around for the future moments in my life.
It was a hard time for my mother and I, as I was the last child at home. They had just purchased her dream home two years prior, a large brick 1920s era neglected Tudor that she restored to its’ original condition.
Although my parents picked up the house for much less than what it was worth, the restoration put my parents in debt. As well, my parents also forfeited life insurance, as it was too expensive for them, due to my father’s existing diabetes and heart condition.
My mom, a career housewife with a new business not yet showing a profit, held on for as long as she could, but finally had to let her dream go.
She wasn’t ever bitter about losing the house she dreamed of all of her life, but she held onto a sadness for all she had lost, I suppose. Although we continued to live in our same town until she passed away, she never wanted to even drive by the old brick Tudor.
Shortly before she died, I asked her on one of those drives in which I had to consciously steer the car away from Miami Ave., where the magnificent house sat, “Had you the chance to do it again and knew you would lose it anyway, would you have bought that house and put all of that work into it.”
She answered without hesitation, “Yes. It was fun while it lasted and I’m grateful for the time we all had in it.”
By that time, I had long accepted losing my dad at such a young age and had come to the understanding that these defining moments in our lives are the best teachers. They are the moments we have the greatest opportunity from which to learn in this life.
It was also at that moment that I realized that the old adage, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all,” applies to more than just diving into the possibility of heartache in relationships.
It was then I knew that it’s better to take the risk on most things you want to do. If we don’t, we hardly will have those experiences from which to learn, whether they turn out the way we would like or not. And if we don’t take the chance, we miss the opportunity for more defining moments.
It was those words of my mother’s that rang in my ears when we decided to take the plunge to move to Our Little House (which, as you might recall wouldn’t even be if my mother hadn’t invested the proceeds from the sale of her dream home in this land).
I miss my dad to this day. But his untimely passing made me the person I am today. Not one afraid of taking chances, but one who, I hope, knows when to grab opportunity and create my own defining moments.
What was the first defining moment of your life? What did it teach you?
Audio Book Giveaway
Today, I have a really special treat for a giveaway. My friend, Rolland Love, a native of the Ozarks, and author of several books on Ozark life, is offering a CD of his audio book, “Ozark Mountains Fishing Stories.”
This is appropriate with my post today, as my dad was from deep in the Ozark Mountains, south of here, and both of my parents first instilled my love of this country on me when we vacationed here.
Rolland has a great story telling voice and critic’s analysis that his storytelling is Mark Twain-ish is dead on. You don’t have to be a fishing lover to like this either, his stories take you into the Ozarks and the beauty of the country here.
All you have to do is comment on this post between now and 3 p.m. on Monday, July 25 and you will be in the drawing! PLEASE leave an email address or a link back to you where I might contact you should you win. I will announce the winner on Tuesday’s post. Sorry, folks, this one open to our U.S. readers only.