We have nothing for always. We all know you can’t take it with you.
In Gaelic there is no word for permanent possession. Tha airgead agam nam phòcaid means I have money (temporarily) at me in my pocket. Tha bean agam aig an taigh; I have a wife (temporarily)at me at the house. Tha agus foghlam agam; I have learning at me (an education). Tha glòir agus buaidh agam. There is glory and victory at me (temporarily) Tha ìmpireachd agam. There is an empire at me (temporarily)
Similarly, the Greek philosophers taught us that nothing in life is ours to keep PERMANENTLY—not our children, not our family, not our beloved mothers, not our wives and husbands not our loyal dogs and cats. not piano, not our books, our material possessions, not our youth and vitality, not our beauty, not our pains, sorrow and losses or minor triumphs, not our brain nor our memory. You are lucky if you keep your wits late in life as your hair goes gray and limbs grow old.
My father often quoted from memory Sophocles:
OEDIPUS AT COLONUS:
Dear son of Aegeus, to the gods alone
Is given immunity from eld and death;
But nothing else escapes all-ruinous time.
Earth’s might decays, the might of men decays,
Honor grows cold, dishonor flourishes,
There is no constancy ‘twixt friend and friend,
Or city and city; be it soon or late,
Sweet turns to bitter, hate once more to love.
If now ’tis sunshine betwixt Thebes and thee
And not a cloud, Time in his endless course
Gives birth to endless days and nights, wherein
The merest nothing shall suffice to cut
With serried spears your bonds of amity.
My mother used to say, life and love are just brief moments in time so we should love each other today and be kind to each other today so as to have no regrets.
The door is locked forever and beyond it I cannot go or even knock. I still know my mother’s phone number 201 992 4871 but it has been disconnected for over 20 years now.
But I have only a few regrets. I called her at least once a week. She used to say, “this is costing money!” and I answered, “it’s cheaper than cocaine, whiskey and beer. I will cut back on them.” She laughed. She never once hung up on me.
I was was not the worst son in the world though not the best. I could have done more and been less selfish. I showed gratitude however. And we sang songs together and had a few laughs. We went to ballgames and picnics and hikes and museums. And my parents lived to know their grandchildren and they them. That was a great blessing. And soon I will see my grandchildren again. They are far away now -hundreds of miles. But I am happy they are safe.
God willing, they may get to know and remember me.
RICHARD K. MUNRO