Life is short, make time for what's important
Everyday I am reminded of the fact that life is short. Lately some of the people I care the most about have had to deal with the sober reality that death is the only certainty in life and the pain, at times, can be overwhelming.
Recently the Midcoast has been hit with a number of tragic and untimely deaths that have affected many in the community. Just this weekend I was given the unenviable task of informing my children their grandmother had passed away. Juni Shepardson — or Memum as she was affectionately called by my kids — was truly one of the warmest, caring people I have ever met. My mother-in-law for 12 years, I got to know her and grew to be astonished by the amount of people she came in contact with and had touched very deeply.
I first met Juni after I started dating her daughter Kristin in the late 1990s. Right away she made me feel like part of the family and she seemed to enjoy getting to know about this “guy” who was dating her daughter and hanging out with her grandson Josh.
She told me once, “Dwight, all I ask is that you treat my daughter and grandson with respect, because I really like having you around.”
Her ability to bring a smile to everyone’s face and make them feel that they were important were so impressive to me and although we did have our mother-in-law versus son-in-law moments, she always let me know that even though I was wrong, she still loved me.
She was one of the most proactive grandmothers I have ever met. Whether it was a freezing Little League game down in St. George or a steamy gym for a basketball game, Juni made every effort to be in the stands to cheer on her grandkids.
This past winter, she had a breakthrough and for the first time in the 10 years of our oldest two wrestling, she was able to muster the courage to attend one of Zac’s matches. She quickly informed me that it would probably be the last, because she couldn’t stand watching him get “twisted like a pretzel.”
I always looked forward to seeing her at games, because I didn’t get much of a chance to talk with her after Kristin and I divorced. For a time shortly after, communication was little between us, but she always told me that I would always be her son-in-law and that she felt fortunate to have me as the father of her grandchildren.
Words like this were nothing she took lightly, so the fact that she said them tells me that no matter what, she could see the best in people.
It is said that time heals all wounds and I know for Kristin, her sister Tina and her grandchildren, an unbelievable void has been left by a wonderful woman who left us too soon.
So to my children, know that Memum had a full life and was loved by many. Take the time to tell the ones you care about how you really feel and don’t put off the important stuff, because you never know.