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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Is Distance Only Miles?

There is a solid connection in the heart for family to live so far apart.  It is 1430 or so miles and 21 hours by car from Houma to Upstate New York.  My parents and many of my family remain there.  This distance seems farther with each passing day.  My half day trip from Virginia seems miniscule by comparison.

Technology helps to bridge the distance, of course and this is not a "poor me" pity party.  As we age, strength is drawn from experience and living in the present becomes absolute necessity for happiness to rule.  Neither of these help when an aging parent is in the hospital and you cannot be there, but in spirit.

My current situation made me think on those whose situations must be even harder.  Active duty military men and women and spouses overseas feel the grand canyon of familial distance much larger than mine.  Their service and sacrifice is too often under appreciated.  They are fully appreciated and applauded by me.  The strength it takes to "stand by your man" and raise a family far away from your own is immense.  Like the branches of a tree, the reach of their obviously solid, oak upbringing spans the world wearing stars and stripes. 

My father has always said that control is an illusion.  For the most part this is true.  The one thing I do have control over is my own behavior, as long as I haven't opened a bottle of wine.  There is no wallowing in despair as long as I know that my family's there.  My problem right now is facing the reality that my parents are aging and they won't always be there. 

As a positive person, the focus has to shift to what I can do in this moment to make it better.  So I reflect on my happy moments with my family and create a plan for visits before we move farther away.  As the need to soak them up like the sun becomes urgent and almost desperate; the responsibilities of being a parent and the spouse of a military officer sets in to calm things back down.  That one thing under my control is that behavior and making the effort to tell my family that I love them. 

Worry will get me nothing, but an ulcer.  So knowing that the world is outside of my control will just have to suffice.  Life is messy.  Being a truly happy person means that you have to accept the fact that from time to time, you have to face life's messy, sad times.  I am an oak and my branches are my family.  Miles will not determine our closeness.

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