The more I look at today's photo, the more it is mesmerising to me. I can't help wondering what this man was reading and what exactly in it could have possibly written the frustrated look on his face. Was it a big bother in life to him? An octogenarian author I am reminded of by this shot once commented on the life journey that our ups and downs do not come in succession but more often happen simultaneously. The author went on advising readers that for this reason, we need to walk with a heart ready for happiness on one side and sorrows on the other. This is what he believed the best attitude for immunising us against just fretting and fuming at our low tides in life. We can feel saddened in those times, but we are obliged to persevere.
When life intervenes, it helps to think to ourselves that we will eventually tide over it somehow. Then at some point in life when we look back, we will be gratified to see our footprints continuing uninterrupted on this long and sometimes arduous journey.
In today's shot, the man was reading a piece of paper, which is also what makes the scene intriguing to me. I was reminded of a letter or, to be exact, a father’s last letter to his kids. Read through to the end and you won’t want to miss a second to make life enjoyable to yourself and your loved ones.
To my son, Cecil,
Just a quick note before I start in earnest. When I wrote this you were 8, still a little boy. IN 2002, I was called to active duty in the Marine Corps in the War on Terrorism. On the 11th Septenber 2001 when America was attached, I knew that I would eventually hve to go and I was filled with a deep sense of sadness. That night as you and Keiko were asleep, I looked at your little face and couldn’t help but fight the tears. I knew it would be hard for you because I had a similar experience. When I was a little boy aged 6, my Dad, your Grandpa Cawley, was sent to Vietnam during the war there. I remember how much I missed him, too. But now unfortunately I have come to realize just how rough it must have been for Grandpa to be away from his children for a year. Thinking about this, I wanted to put my thoughts and feelings down for you and your sister. I am so sorry that I had to leave for such a long time. There is no place I would rather be than with you and Keiko. You two are the lights of my life. I have known no greater joy than in the few years since you two were born. I hope to have many more years with you. If this doesn’t happen, then know that I love you more than words can express. If for some reason I don’t make it home, I will need you to take care of your little sister and your Mom. You will be the Man of the Cawley family. Be good my son and God will watch over you as he has me. I will be waiting impatiently for the time when we can all be together again.
All my love, Dad
James Cawley, the author, died in the war. Two days after his death, his last letter arrived at his family’s home in Utah, written on the packaging of an MRE Meal Ready to Eat, the US military’s frontline ration. It consisted of a message in Japanese to his wife and his final words to his children.
Dear Cecil and Keiko,
Hi little guys. How are you? Daddy is fine. I miss you. Send me a letter okay. It will make me very happy. I am proud of you. You are such good kids. I will see you again.