Tuesday, October 11, 2005

An Unfinished Life

How is one supposed to know when a life is finished? Is that even a desirable goal? How about "an incomplete life"? Can you ever have a sense of completion? Then there's another way to look at "unfinished" as in: not smooth, refined or polished. There might still be quite a market for "unfinished" furniture or "unfinished wood" trim etc. Can you go for both? Are both worthy goals?

We just saw a movie that is currently out in wide release. It must not be too popular because it was in the smallest theater at the multiplex. "An Unfinished Life" was quite absorbing. First of all it has some stellar "stars" ie. Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez. They are all very believeable in their roles. The child, a girl of eleven, is too. It takes place in the mid-west mainly in Wyoming. Beautiful country! Bear Country! Yes, "Bart, the bear" is really one of the stars also. He is massive and very realistic in his role...type cast. He is really the "metaphor" for the "untamed" and "unfinished" life of the grandfather, his sidekick, and their relations. Here again, I don't want to ruin it for anyone; so I won't tell the story here.

The question it brings up for me is: How would one deal with living longer than one's child? It seems to me to be one of the hardest and most tragic trials one could have happen to them. How would one go on, even caring about their own life when their child, their only child, was taken in an accident? I suppose there are other ways that your child can be "taken away" from you too. ie. drugs, mental illness, distance (physical and emotional), depression, misunderstanding. Loss can be felt in any number of ways and have the same result.

It makes your life feel "unfinished". Not because your only purpose in life is to have and raise children. It isn't. It just points up to the reality that for many, life is lived "through" their children almost as a "substitute". It becomes an excuse for not really dealing with their own problems, pains and concerns. They refuse to let their "kids" grow up and become "full adults" and then relate to them that way. Adults have a much more reciprocal relationship usually, especially adult friends. This could be a goal for parents...eventually let go enough to relate to their progeny as equal adults. It isn't really "tough love" but it sometimes seems like it. When you observe your own making the same "mistakes" you have made, it is especially difficult to keep "out of it". And yet, that is what must be done. My parents, to some degree, did that to me. My dad would've been the best at it except that he "checked out" rather early (59). He had no "agendas" for his son and daughter that I ever knew of. He calmly, and quietly tempered our relationships with "acts of love". He was so handy. He'd come out and fix things, and he helped me pour the slab of the back patio. It must've been 3 ft. thick in spots. Solid! Just like him. Yes, I missed him and I didn't really realize what a great dad he was until he was gone and I couldn't tell him. To me, his life was "unfinished" but his memories aren't. Maybe that's how we finish lives in every sense of the word. Bless him and his memory. bob


At 11:09 AM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

Drugs include alcohol too.

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous son#one said...

i love you dad.


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