Tuesday, August 26, 2008

True Love?

Okay, my readers. You may number one or two, but still I feel an obligation to keep my blog as interesting and current as possible. And, hey, who wants to read about death and dying? That gets maudlin very quickly.

But I do want to share a common response I'm getting when I mention that my dad died less than four weeks after my mom. "Well," they say. "At least, they are together again."

And I want to say, "Well, maybe they don't want to be together again. Maybe they did a lifetime together and want some space or the chance to meet someone new or, heck, the chance to sit and stare at the wondrous images up there in Heaven.

But, of course, I don't say a thing. That would be sacrireligious, blasphemous, or
something. How can I diss my parents' relationship or make the judgment call that my mom in particular was probably hoping for a reprieve? It's not that she didn't love my dad. She did. But certain hurts, misunderstandings, and who knows what built up over almost 68 years, and I figure she was just plain out of steam.

I know we all say things we don't really mean. Hey, I'm married, too. But when my mom told me a matter of months before she died that she'd like my dad to take a permanent golfing vacation, I got the feeling that she meant business.

And as she was in the final stages of dying, it appeared that she'd pretty much shut him out. Yes, there was that morning when the hospice care worker found them talking softly to one another. They were apparently holding hands and whispering sweet nothings. I think my mom realized that it would be terribly unfair to leave my dad without some words of love and comfort. I suspect that she'd worked through whatever had come between them and wanted to part on a good note. That was the least she could do.

So, when friends and strangers comment on the close death of my parents and how much they must have loved one another, I don't buy it. Theirs was not what I would label a happy and loving ending.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It's toughest in the mornings. Upon waking - when the first conscious thoughts flood into my head - I feel last month's loss of both of my parents more than almost any other time of the day or night. This morning, I saw my mother laid out on the bed in which she'd died only minutes before. She looked lovely, washed and dressed in her favorite purple silk pajamas. The mid-afternoon summer sun bounced off of the silk and highlighted a peaceful face that looked so much younger than that of most 91 year olds. Her full hair, not yet completely gray, held its natural wave. I styled it one last time.

She died with her left eye slightly open. And as the time passed before her body was picked up, my sister and I got a bit spooked. It was if she were going to keep an eye on us, even in death. "It's okay, mom," I said. "We'll be fine. We promise." Before long, we started to laugh every time we walked past her. We felt like school girls under the watchful eye of our favorite teacher.

Some mornings, I try to erase the images from my mind; other mornings, I dive into them, knowing that the only way to make it through this sad and lonely time is to acknowledge the full spectrum of my emotions. I'm a middle-age woman who was blessed to have had my parents for so long. But losing them so late in life doesn't make their deaths any easier. In some ways, it may be even more difficult - I've relied on them for their love and support longer than most. It's tough to let go now.

I wear a piece of my mother's jewelry every day. It helps me feel closer to her and reminds me of her exquisite taste and her sense of beauty. This morning, I've put on a gold and quartz ring that she had custom designed. I wear it on the middle finger of my left hand, a proud badge of a close and loving mother/daughter relationship.