REFLECTIONS FROM AN OLD MAN ABOUT HIS PAST

Portrait of senior man, studio shot

“It’s said that with Age comes Wisdom, but maybe it’s because regret, as we reflect on our mistakes.”

B.A.

Trough the years,  specially when you reach old age, you reflect on your past. And if we are sincere, we will admit that we  not did  just a few mistakes, but many, and therefore the way we acquired wisdom.

Of lately, I have giving a lot of thought to my now many years gone parents, and realized I could had being a much better son than I was.

I left home at the early age of seventeen, to do what a  lot of young people do, to go and study, somewhere away from home, sure I returned for some years on vacation times, but just for a few brief days, and then life caught in full with me, work, marriage, children supporting a family, on a far away city, with less, and less visits through the years being caught on dealing with all the things all you know too well, if you have your own family to take care, and your parents do not live anywhere near from where you are, my visits were few an sporadic, with long lapses of absences, except for a call to say hello, for a few minutes, and a visit of a week every two, or three years.

Old Streets

And now seeing my own children following my own pattern, of growing up, and being by themselves , moving to other cities, and actually being on the same situation my parents were, I can see clearly, how bad a son I was, not because the same thing it’s done to me, in fact I understand them perfectly, and accept what they are doing, as  normal and natural, they need to pursue their own life, just like I did.

What I cannot do, its to forgive myself  for the fact I pay so little attention to them, and that it seems incredible that on my seventy years of life, I only spent seventeen years at their side, and I did not give myself the chance to spent more time with them.

Today, too late,  I remember daily, their words to me, their love, and caring, and the little details, that not escape my memory, and that make me regret today, I did not make an effort to spent more time, to enjoy them, and to know them better.

Old Town

On one of my sporadic visits, talking to Mother about something I do not even remember, I exclaimed: “Well we will see how things will end, and mother said: “Where do you think, they will? But right at the end of the street!”  She exclaimed, It took me a few moments to catch her meaning.

At that time my parents lived at a street that ended at a graveyard where the family’s graves where located.

Before mother died I had a dream, she was showing me a tree on the house from my Grandmother, where she grew up, a tree all too familiar to me, although at the time did not knew it was special, since in the house were many trees, on the dream she told me to bury her ashes under that tree.

Ficus tree

Immediately after waking up, I called work, to tell them I had an emergency, a plane ticket, and flew over to go visit her, at the time, she was living not on her house, but too old to take care of herself, she was living at the house of my sister’s family, I did not even call her to tell her I was coming, on arriving, I took a cab and went to her house, my sister open the door and saw me with surprise, and the firs thing she said to me pulling me aside, and in a sort of secretive tone, not to be overheard was: “I was about just to call you! Doctors already told us mother only have a few days to live!”

I said: “I know, that’s why I am here!”

My sister surprised said: “Who told you, her?”  Without telling her the dream, I said I just had a dream. My sister, not wanting for mother to get scared, decided not to tell her, doctors already had given up on her, in order not to frighten her, and asked me not to mention anything to her.

Without telling her about my dream, I asked her about the tree, mother then told me it was a special tree, that my Grandfather brought to the house where he build the house for his new family, from the old town where both grew up, before moving to a new town and getting married, and where they started a new life, and a new family.

Old Town From My Grandfathers

Ironically, the first moment mother talked to me in private, she confessed to me, she felt so bad, and was so tired, she just wanted to die, and be over with her suffering, but made me promise I will not tell the family about it, I guess considering me already an outsider from the family circle from my sister and brothers, who lived in the same city, me the only living far away. It was ironic, to say the least, but I kept quiet, and silent to both parties. I spent two weeks there, and had to leave and return to work, she died two days later, and could not attend her funeral.

For many years I have not going to my Grandmother’s town, I used to pass there, and stop to look at the old house they sold after my Grandmother died, and stare at the now empty lot, where the house was, the new owner destroyed it and put a mechanic shop for big trucks, but left the big tree, and two palm trees, at the property, once in a while by nostalgia, go into google maps and look at the place where mother was born, and raised, along with my aunts, unfortunately since recently, the old tree doesn’t appear anymore, someone told me they accidentally put it on fire, and they remove it..

Well another Mother’s day is gone, and another year added, to the many years now, since you left us for good, we still remember you, and we miss you Mother, and you too father, and please both forgive me, my many  years of absence!

Donde Termina La Yañez

About theburningheart

Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
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52 Responses to REFLECTIONS FROM AN OLD MAN ABOUT HIS PAST

  1. ptero9 says:

    I’m very touched by your dream about your mother. I wonder if she somehow felt a connection with you that presented itself to you in the dream. Perhaps she was more grateful for your visit before her passing because you were a bit more outside of the family at that time in your lives?

    Well, we all make mistakes… there’s no getting around that. It’s healthy to accept our common humanity, and perhaps what love is really about.

    Just last weekend I dreamed that I was underground and saw my mother standing by herself. She waited for me to come to her and then embraced me. Although I knew in the dream that she had passed, when we embraced I could feel her warm presence. The dream came after a particularly painful ending of a friendship. It was exactly what I needed. It also came right around mother’s day.

    So, here’s to mother’s, their special love for us and to forgiveness!

    • theburningheart says:

      Those things as dreams, obviously obey things within ourselves, and well yes, we are all interconnected, specially family members, being the only son stray from her, no doubt stirred thoughts about me, and her impending death.
      That I dreamed her, well I just caught that intuitively, by affinity, I guess.
      My reflections about not being a good enough son of course, were made on insight looking at my life from today’s perspective, now an old man, and more mature, than then, so I expressed them as usual with no thought in mind before I sat to write a post, I just start writing, and words and phrases come into place, by the way I wrote it on the wee hours before daybreak., and going quite late to bed.
      And there’s no doubt in my mind now, I was not a great son to both my parents, but I believe they never judge me badly, despite my long absences, and the occasional phone call maybe six, or seven times a year.
      Your dream about your mother it’s self explanatory, you were in need of love, and understanding, and you got it from the source of mercy, a Mother archetype, your own Mother, in the dream.
      I am sure Mother will come for me, when I will be ready to leave this mask, and so will do yours, as well.🙂

      • ptero9 says:

        Ah…yes, the writing just seems to come. That resonates with me. … and yes, dropping the mask in the end. 🙂

  2. This is a powerful story. I admire your honesty.

    • theburningheart says:

      Well what’s the point of growing old, and not acquire a modicum of wisdom, and reflect on our past mistakes, and at least be able to say what is true?
      Thank you Neil, I enjoyed your post also about those trees blooming, brought many memories back, I grew up South of the Border, and on the wild you can find many forest, all the way from Northern Mexico into South America from Amapa trees , or Guayacanes in South America and here it’s how they look. In Mexico we have them with pink flowers, yellow, and white, the purple ones are known as jacarandas and in LA we have them on many streets.

  3. Don Ostertag says:

    Nice thoughts. Nice sentiments. Nice advice.

  4. I think the older we get, Mr. Brogido, the more we get aware of our committed mistakes and they hurt! For me time is the most important thing we can give to our beloved ones. Many thanks for your goose pimples provoking story with your precious tree:)

    • theburningheart says:

      Thank you Martina, unfortunately it’s sad to get old, and see the places you remember from your childhood destroyed, like both my Grandparents houses, on different towns, places that I visited often, when my Grandmothers were alive, my father’s mother died in 1970 and I was one of the pallbearers of her coffin, my other Grandmother died in1975 Mother went to her funeral, at the time I couldn’t, on those later years I will see her often, since I passed through her town coming, and going from where I was studying at the time, brief visits since the buss will stop there for an hour, and she only lived two blocks away from the buss station, and she will serve me dinner.
      Both my Grandparents, did not meet them, they died way before, I was even born.
      Although my time with my family was relatively brief, I have precious memories, from them all, and I still in touch with my brothers, and sister.

      • It makes us sad to look back at all those important losses, but as I read your words I also understand that you spent important hours with your grandmother!
        I think we understand more and more how important those relatives and the security they gave us were for our lives. In my world these connections have gone lost due to our individualism, I think. Whatever we do, it seems to always have two sides.
        Stay well:)
        Martina

      • theburningheart says:

        I guess the World changes, as we get older, and we change along with it, but we may have doubts, and regrets, from what we may reflect later, as for example on this instance, I don’t see progress in losing family bonds, and old memories, as we live today. And I am not talking about you, or others, but myself, maybe it’s just our common lot as humans as we age, and meditate as a great poet of yore, used to say:
        “Let from its dream the soul awaken,
        And reason mark with open eyes
        The scene unfolding,—
        How lightly life away is taken,
        How cometh Death in stealthy guise,—
        At last beholding;

        What swiftness hath the flight of pleasure
        That, once attained, seems nothing more
        Than respite cold;
        How fain is memory to measure
        Each latter day inferior
        To those of old…” 🤷‍♂️☹️

      • Your words give me goose pimples, Brogido! My husband has a nasty cancer, so they touch me all the more! So, just try do our best in enjoying what is left!

      • theburningheart says:

        Sorry to hear about your husband, Martina.
        I know it’s hard to offer words of comfort, on these situations, but our good wishes, and prayers be with you, and your husband. 💖

      • Thank you very much, Brogido, and don’t let’s forget hope!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story ❤ We all make mistakes in our youthful days when our future seem filled with boundless opportunities. As you've mentioned, wisdom comes through our failures along life's journey. You were wise in following up on the dream about your mother's ashes. In doing so, you were able to spend two weeks with her before her passing.

    • theburningheart says:

      Youth it’s wasted on the young, we like to say, but where I came from, we also like to say, No one is born with experience, knowing everything you need to, and yes, we learn from our mistakes. And that we can only acquire by living, and reflect in old age, about our past with honesty.
      Thank you for your words, Rosaliene, I appreciate them!
      Yes I Thanks God, to say Good by, to Mother, before her death.

  6. stolzyblog says:

    very good stuff. 🙂

  7. macalder02 says:

    Hay que aprender de esos momentos desagradables, para de esta manera seguir creciendo como individuos. En otras palabras, no importa cómo caes, sino cómo te levantas. Pero más grande eres, y mejor vas a estar emocionalmente, si también te perdonas a ti mismo por todos esos errores que has cometido. Tu reflexión es admirable y de paso, nos dejas una reflexión de vida que nos puede ayudar en muchos aspectos. Un gran abrazo amigo.

    • theburningheart says:

      Entender, y confrontar nuestros errores es solo el comienzo para poder , sí se puede remediar los daños hechos, en este caso solo podemos mirar al cielo y arrepentirnos de ellos, y pidiendo a Dios que nos perdone, solo así podremos, empezar a perdonarnos a nosotros mismos, y así levantarnos como tu lo mencionas.
      Gracias Manuel, por tus consejos y reflexiones, que no caen en saco roto.
      Saludos y un abrazo fuerte!

  8. foodinbooks says:

    Your dream of your mother was very evocative and touching. Lovely and thought-provoking post. I suppose we all start considering where we’re going and what we’ve done as we get older. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and somewhat melancholic post.

    • theburningheart says:

      I am afraid as youngsters, specially the male kind, we are not very reflective, or make great considerations as we take actions, of course it’s because from our troubles, we gain experience, if we live to regret it, sometimes too late to do anything.
      I have being blessed by God, and now thankful for his gifts, and his Love.
      I wanted to put it on writing, part as a confession, and in part to show to others, there’s no shame, in admitting our wrongdoings, and reflect honestly about our life. I t will be great also if we can somehow repair our wrongdoings if possible.

  9. Carolyn Page says:

    No advice to offer. However, I do want to say how much I enjoyed your heart felt sentiments.

  10. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Not trying to change your mind, but…there is an understanding that daughters are “better” at the family stuff than sons. Sons go off…and you’re lucky if you hear from them again! So it seems like it’s kinda like nature, you know? At least you’re “tuned in” to the universe and received your message and went home for those last two significant weeks. I never would have had a message like that in a dream. My husband gets them ALL THE TIME. My personal regrets are that I haven’t succeeded in the ways I imagined I should have so that I could “do more” for my father, who’s still alive now. I always joke that it’s lucky he did so well for himself, otherwise he’d be living in the spare room of our apartment and we’d all be bumping into each other and miserable, lol

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, it’s true we men are more detached than women generally speaking, but there were also unfortunate circumstances, to begin with my eldest and youngest brother, went to study to another city, and my sister on visiting them, got a boyfriend, and ultimately marry him, and moved there also.
      My parents follow them in 1976, or so, the town were they moved was sort of a place I did not knew anybody except my family, and not the town we grew up, and we all lived and went to up to High School.
      It’s not an excuse, but that sort of hampered more my visits, my peripatetic life did not help either, after living in nine cities, five states, and two Nations, including 32 years in LA, did not make easy for me to spend more time with them, busy as you get with work, and three ex wives, and our children.
      Now retired I live, in a town were two of my children live, the rest are all scattered, on two Nations, five cities, and fourth States, not to talk about my brothers in another city, and another State!
      Last time I was there was 2006 on the visit to my Mother for two weeks, two days before she died!🤷‍♂️🙄

      • selizabryangmailcom says:

        Oh boy, that’s a complicated history, B.H. I see what you mean. A lot going on. But when people move away, it does hamper how and when we can see them. It’s not easy! But I know your mother’s heart was full to see you.:)

      • theburningheart says:

        Well, I guess life, and living it’s not an easy thing, circumstances, and chance move us in unexpected ways, and maybe we don’t do the best, at certain times, life it’s like a river going downstream, and we just go with it, wherever it take us, and as much we will like to take control of it, its not our will that prevails most of the times, we can control only so much of it, but not everything, and given things beforehand like character, health, were we are born, sex, family, education, family environment, etc., Mainly the things that shape us, and when acting makes respond in certain ways particular to us as individuals.

  11. Priti says:

    So beautiful article and so true my eyes filled with tear while reading! We often don’t pay any attention through our parents from where we were born due to our own family or work and when we get the same then we realise what we did ! Well shared thank you so much.👍

    • theburningheart says:

      We all need time, age, and experience, to learn the hard lessons, that life teach us, I am glad you liked it.
      Blessings to you.

  12. WebbBlogs says:

    Wow your words are so touching, beautiful story.

  13. BroadBlogs says:

    Beautifully written and illustrated.

  14. Pls do visit my site PRASHANSA SAXENA

  15. craig lock says:

    Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    http://www.momsgarden.wordpress.com

  16. It was a pleasue to read your memories so well written and heartfelt about your mother and that very special tree.
    Jean-Jacques

    • theburningheart says:

      Thank you Jean-Jacques, we appreciate your comment.

      • Thanks very much for sharing your lecture video in your comment on my site, Mr Anaya – it’s great that some od your students are sharing it for a wider audience. Would be nice with subtitles, but at least Spanish speakers can benefit from it. As far as I know there exist tools to capture the video and then re-upload with subtitles (I only mention this as a possibility in case you wanted to preserve or modify them). I have also left a message on my site regarding your post.
        Jean-Jacques

      • theburningheart says:

        As I belong to a pre-computer generation, I am not wise to do the things you suggested, but I will ask around, for help, on that regard, thank you, Jean- Jacques.

  17. equinoxio21 says:

    Well, (Maybe I learned that from my mother) I don’t have much regrets in life. What you didn’t or couldn’t do in your past, try to change it in your present. If you have regets about what you didn’t do for your parents, do it for your children…
    Cheers

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, I have a few regrets, but with age comes wisdom, and I do my best to be a good father, even if my children are spread on two Nations, four States, and five cities, and only two live near me, and see often. The rest just contact by phone, occasionally.

  18. Dalo 2013 says:

    What a beautifully told story and memory ~ such honesty and emotion, and it causes me to reflect more upon my life and my parents / family and how special they are… The life you lived and created is admirable and even with your absence I would imagine your parents being proud of doing all that you were. Your words at the beginning of your post holds a lot of truth: “we will admit that we not did just a few mistakes, but many, and therefore the way we acquired wisdom…”

  19. theburningheart says:

    Well, what’s the purpose of living, if we not acquire a modicum of wisdom? And there is nothing like failing to experience regret, and mend our ways, in order to be ready for the next challenge ahead of us, day to day, as an old poem put into a song when I was young:

    Todo pasa y todo queda
    Pero lo nuestro es pasar
    Pasar haciendo caminos
    Caminos sobre la mar
    Nunca perseguí la gloria
    Ni dejar en la memoria
    De los hombres mi canción
    Yo amo los mundos sutiles
    Ingrávidos y gentiles
    Como pompas de jabón
    Me gusta verlos pintarse
    De sol y grana, volar
    Bajo el cielo azul, temblar
    Súbitamente y quebrarse
    Nunca perseguí la gloria
    Caminante, son tus huellas
    El camino y nada más
    Caminante, no hay camino
    Se hace camino al andar
    Al andar se hace camino
    Y al volver la vista atrás
    Se ve la senda que nunca
    Se ha de volver a pisar
    Caminante no hay camino
    Sino estelas en la mar
    Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar
    Donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
    Se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar
    Caminante no hay camino
    Se hace camino al andar
    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso
    Murió el poeta lejos del hogar
    Le cubre el polvo de un país vecino
    Al alejarse le vieron llorar
    Caminante no hay camino
    Se hace camino al andar
    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso
    Cuando el jilguero no puede cantar
    Cuando el poeta es un peregrino
    Cuando de nada nos sirve rezar
    (Caminante no hay camino
    Se hace camino al andar)
    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso
    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso
    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso

    Translation

    Everything happens and everything is
    But our thing is to pass
    spend making paths
    paths over the sea
    I never chased glory
    Nor leave in memory
    Of men my song
    I love the subtle worlds
    Weightless and gentle
    Like soap foam
    I like to see them paint
    Of sun and grana, fly
    Under the blue sky, tremble
    suddenly and break
    I never chased glory
    Walker, are your footprints
    The road and nothing else
    Walker, there is no way
    The path is made by walking
    When you walk, you make your way
    And looking back
    You see the path that never
    It has to be stepped on again
    walker there is no way
    But wakes in the sea
    Some time ago in that place
    Where today the forests are dressed in thorns
    A poet’s voice was heard shouting
    walker there is no way
    The path is made by walking
    Blow by blow, verse by verse
    He died the poet away from home
    The dust of a neighboring country covers him
    As he walked away they saw him cry
    walker there is no way
    The path is made by walking
    Blow by blow, verse by verse
    When the finch can not sing
    When the poet is a pilgrim
    When it is useless to pray
    (Walker there is no way
    path is made by walking)
    Blow by blow, verse by verse
    Blow by blow, verse by verse
    Blow by blow, verse by verse

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