April 17, 2022, the road...Ofra - Maaleh Adumim, Israel
Yitzhak had said to me, "Do you know why we observe one full year of mourning? because there will be many firsts during this one year cycle; the first birthday without your dear mother, the first Hanukkah, the first Passover, the first....each one will be a hurdle"
Yes, this is true. And it seems those firsts come frequently and it hits me in different ways. Today I was returning home from celebrating the holiday of Passover with my brother and his extended family. We observed the festival in the town of Ofra, an amazing town named for the Biblical town of the same name, and the sons have returned to their borders. (Prophecy, Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 16)
And yes, this was the first time I made that drive home without...my dear mother. There I was driving home quietly, peacefully, and suddenly I felt her absence. Normally she is sitting by my side in the passenger seat, telling me how much the great grandchildren have grown, commenting about my nephew's house and garden. She always enjoyed the drive home. She enjoyed every moment of life. We paid attention to the road as me must be careful when driving through areas largely inhabited by Arabs. (today at the very same time, on a different route the Arabs took the streets and pelted Jewish vehicles with stones, one must be alert).
And I could hear my mother saying, Oh Moshie, we made good timing!
Somehow making good timing was always something that made her feel very good. She was never in a hurry to get anywhere, certainly not on the way home, but "making good timing" was one of her frequent expressions. And she felt proud to tell me that I made good timing. (although it rarely had much to with me).
I felt her absence today, in a very deep way. My writing is my therapy, but I try to make it universal, to find a lesson to share with others, not only as a way of expressing my deep grief over the loss of my dear mother. I missed talking with her on the way home, I missed her glow, her happiness, her enjoyment of everything in life even as she battled cancer. Oh how much I have to learn from her! How she embraced life, and life ...is so short.
So I thought about the conversation that will never take place again, I had time to think, as the ride was so quiet.
Good timing. I was thinking this is about making the best of the time that we have, using your time wisely. Not wasting it being angry over things you cannot control, like being stuck in traffic, like dealing with idiots who are insensitive and just drain you.
Often I spoke with my mother about work related issues, about my frustrations with dealing with people who are just ungrateful and unappreciative and insensitive. But too often I let this ruin my day, ruin my time with my mother. It is an art, truly an art, to not let these things ruin your day. To let a bad email ruin your day is very poor timing, i.e. it is not a good way to handle time. Our time is limited, truly limited, Good timing means making good use of your time.
So I am driving along, alone, and thinking of my dear father, may he rest in peace, and how he would say, Dying early is the greatest waste of time. i.e. by driving recklessly to "save time" you might get into accident and get yourself killed, and an early death is the greatest waste of time.
What he was saying was again, Good Timing, don't waste your time but don't hesitate to invest your time in things that will earn you time in the long run. Training in Krav Maga is not a waste of time as it prevents an early untimely death. Krav Maga lessons are a time saver, a good use of your time. Taking care of your health, exercising, eating right, are all time savers as they prevent the greatest waste of time, an early demise.
Driving alone, in silence, I feel her presence, her seat is empty. As much as I treasured the time with her, as much as I knew that the cancer was an enemy which is tough to beat, I still sort of believed that she would always be here. I remember trying to enjoy the ride as much as possible. I was always tired, I was always eager to get home, I should have focused more on the ride than on the destination. I cannot put into words the sweetness of her smile, but those who know, a mother is a mother.
Over the years I grew to appreciate her more, to understand her better, to be more patient, to have "Better Timing". Her seat is now empty but I can hear her saying, We made good timing, with such joy in her voice, such pride in me for this "great accomplishment".
I am on the road, following the signs to Maaleh Adumim, but she is no longer here, or is she? and I am trying to glean lessons from her life, to have something of her to take with me, and to pass on. Enjoy the ride, don't worry so much about being delayed, don't let the little things upset you, in the long run they don't matter. Don't let those annoyances distract you from your precious time with those who matter.
My dear father used to tell a story about a police officer who stopped a driver for speeding. And while the driver was desperately trying to get out of the fine, the ticket, the police officer gave him a little life lesson. My father would say, in the police officers name, "Did you notice the new flowers we planed about a mile ago from here? Did you see the lovely new ...etc".
His message was, don't drive so fast, don't be in such a hurry, as to miss all the beauty along the way, and sometimes the greatest beauty is the person sitting next to you. and some day that seat will be empty and you will be alone with your thoughts. Treasure the time you have, it is limited.
Today I made amazing timing, but I miss hearing the sweet voice, and the accompanying smile, "Moshe, you made really good timing today." So I try to remember and share the lesson.
Thank you for listening.