Column – Find time to reconnect with loved ones

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Let’s enjoy every moment of our precious, borrowed life here on earth, for we have only one life to live. In our life, there’s no replay or turning back. Without reservation, let’s live our lives to the fullest, to the best we can now, this present moment.

A question to ponder: How sure are we that when we go to bed tonight, we will wake up in the morning? We don’t know. Nobody knows. We can only hope and pray that we will wake up in the morning alive and well, like the rest of God’s creation.

Another question: When was the last time you visited your folks or relatives, Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, brother, or sister, especially when they’re far away, in another state or country? Did you feel anxious, excited, happy, nostalgic? Do you always look forward to seeing them again next time? 

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Life is fragile. We all know that. It’s unpredictable, too. 

What’s my point? Let’s try to live our lives the best we can. Let’s enjoy life in the present moment now while we can. Let’s do what we can or are supposed to do now and not later on. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” 

In this connection, I’ve taken the initiative, risk, and opportunity while still alive and well to connect and reconnect with my relatives thousands of miles away. I was out of state for five days to see my relatives on the West Coast, specifically, my elderly Aunt, who has been over the hill or past her prime. I would have loved to visit her, my sisters, and their families during the holidays, but airfare was exorbitantly high due to the peak season for travelers. So I waited for a couple of weeks.

After the holidays, my wife, a retired high school chemistry teacher, and I went out of state to visit my 98-year-old Aunt in a senior living facility where she pays about $9,000 a month. She has lived in the United States for more than seven decades. The only living person on my Dad’s side, she outlived her husband and her only adult son, my cousin.

Aunt Miliang was alert, though in a wheelchair when we saw her in her assisted-living flat or apartment after selling her 3-story house (in San Francisco), where she had lived for the past 70-75 years. She appeared sane and didn’t seem to have Alzheimer’s disease yet. But she’s kind of weak and tired. After our lively conversation, she indicated to us she wanted to go to her bed. While in bed, we continued talking, although she seemed tired and felt like she needed to rest or nap. 

Before we left Aunt Miliang’s apartment to visit or pay respects to my grandpa (my Dad’s dad) and cousin in a cemetery, which is about a 25-30 30-minute drive from her apartment, I encouraged Aunt to get better so she could visit us here in Virginia. I told her to take it easy and live her life to the fullest, and I promised her that when she turns a centenarian, we’ll visit her again. She smiled and nodded affirmatively. I prayed for her quietly, asking God’s grace and mercy.

As we get older, there is that tendency for us, the elderly especially, to think of our inevitable mortality. Such a thought is a reality we all must face. But, in the meantime, let’s do our best to live and enjoy life the best we can amidst our health issues and concerns. 

Let’s find time to visit our dear loved ones, whether near or far, while we and they are still living, trying to enjoy life, struggling or surviving. If there’s a will, there’s a way to go see them, and money is not everything important on earth but our relationships with our family, folks, and friends.