Today is July 8th, 2010.
6 years ago today my mother died.
2 years ago today my father died.
Exactly 4 years apart.
Mom was 83 when she died. Dad, 95. We had them a good long time. But not long enough. Never long enough.
You'd think that - since they died 'old' - the pain of missing them might be somewhat lessened. Of course I don't know what the pain is like when you lose a parent earlier but I can tell you that the lose of a parent at any age is heart-breaking.
I walk Bailey every evening past a house where an elderly couple sit on the porch and greet every passerby. They look nothing like my parents (although I have the suspicion that the Mrs. might be suffering from Parkinson's as did my mother) and yet each time we speak my heart aches a bit more than normal. Because they're old? Maybe. Because they're together and I sense they are always together? Perhaps. But I know and see a lot of elderly people every day who don't make my heart ache and magnify my loss. What is it about these two I wonder. Maybe it's just the passing of time.
Not long before Dad died we had a very funny interaction related to a book I'd loaned him. He was really put out about the ending. When I arrived one Sunday afternoon Dale, my sister, met me at the door and said "HE wants a word with you". She refused to tell me what was going on but she had a sly smile so I knew it was going to be a good one. Like the time he harranged me over and over about the headband I was wearing. My headband he hated, Dale's eyebrow peircing got ignored!
But I digress. That particular day he made me read the last few pages of the book out loud and then give him my interpretation (which was the polar opposite of his own). He never did agree with how I had interpreted it and he never quite forgave me for an ending he really didn't like. I didn't WRITE the book, I told him - I simply loaned it to you! Didn't matter. I was the conduit and he was pissed.
Because he was 95 you're thinking? No, because he was - had always been - wonderfully eccentric. And this exchange came to mind recently when I finished reading the next book by that same author. OMG, I thought to myself, thank god he's dead because he would have HATED me over this ending!!!
They've been together again now for 2 years - married for 63, together in eternity. Those 4 years without her were hell for him - although my sister and brother-in-law filled every one of those days with love and laughter it just wasn't the same without her.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Miss you always. Love you forever.