A trip to Arkansas brings up bittersweet memories
Sometimes holidays mixed with family are fun, and sometimes they’re tinged with bittersweet. Recently, my brother and I did something we’ve never done—we took my dad on a fishing trip to Arkansas, where he grew up. Dad showed us where he lived, played, and swam in the river. The three of us visited a cemetery where our ancestors are buried, as is Dad’s nine-month-old brother. As adults, my brother and I realized what a terrible loss the family suffered. Our emotions caught us by surprise as Dad explained how my grandparents struggled to afford a headstone. The following day, we reeled in fish from the White River, laughed, and took in beautiful scenery. As my dad fried fish that evening, the three of us spoke from the heart—a rare moment. Dad said that, for years, after his father died, he’d have a question about something and think, “I’ll ask my dad,” before realizing he was gone. My brother and I turned to each other in shock: we thought our dad knew all the answers.
Spend time with your family during the holidays. Ask an older family member a question, speak from the heart, and really listen to the answer. Someday the opportunity might fade away.