I’ve started two posts this week and gave up after only a couple of paragraphs. That is not like me at all. When I start writing it’s very difficult for me to stop so usually I don’t stop until it’s done. This one I know will be complete because I had an epitome and didn’t get a headache this time.
I’ve been feeling pretty down the last few weeks because everything happened at once as you may remember here. Well more things happened and I’ve been more than a little overwhelmed. Been teary all day; all week really. Fragile is a really good word.
The end of my work day/week came finally. I don’t really look forward to not going to work because then I have way too much time on my hands. I am trying to rectify that by looking for another part-time job. I start volunteering next week too. Meanwhile I just had to get through an evening with the Sisters and go through the Trunks with them.
These are two of my estranged sisters and I was absolutely dreading this day. Not only did I feel enormously uncomfortable in their presence but going through the trunks from my dad’s house would make my already emotionally crammed brain/heart/soul go over the edge, lithium or not.
My parents were married almost 63 years when my mom died. They were bitter enemies during most of that time and indifferent to each other a lot of the other years. The first time I saw my dad kiss my mom was when I was about 8 and it was because I asked him to. After that, though, he did kiss her goodbye semi-regularly in my presence.
Going through two trunks, filled with cards, letters (hundreds of letters), pictures (hundreds and hundreds of pictures) all starring my young, beautiful and very-much-in-love-with-each-other, parents.
My sisters and I read a few letters, looked at many pictures and tried to sort it all out. Sitting in a storage locker, where my phone didn’t work and my discomfort starting to border on ease, the metal walls of the building echoed with our screams of laughter and gasps of disbelief, but held back its announcements during these delicate expressions of grief.
These two trunks were filled to the brim with stuff. These are metal steamer trunks that took two really strong men to lift, never mind carry.
The question kept coming up; what do we do with all of it? It broke our hearts when we threw some things away that wasn’t obviously garbage. I offered to sort it all out, put the letters in chronological order so it would be easier to decide what to do later.
Reading all about these parents I never knew was amazing. How much love they had for each other, the pet names and the silliness. Later on, hardship and, well, life came into their world, all before I was born. I am the seventh out of eight children and did not know them like these two older sisters did.
We three had to make some decisions that were very difficult about several items. We managed to talk it through, came up with some brilliant ideas. I left the storage locker with my few mementos clutched under my arm and with my phone squawking crazily. My heart was lighter than when I went in.
I drove away knowing I would have to stop before I got home. I had a lot to process. One of the things I realized was that I HAD seen my parents very much in love and devoted to each other. It wasn’t while I was growing up though.
It was when my mom was dying.
She would wait for him, watching the door of her hospital room. He would go there a couple of times a day to see her. I had been going to see her twice a day too, before work and right after. These last two weeks of her life, I could see a light in her eyes I never saw before. She would scramble out of her bed before I could help her because she just knew he was coming.
And then he would be there.
They would hug. Kiss. They hung on. Then they would talk to each other. They would sit together and laugh at each others stories, tease me and share coffee. I would go to the cafeteria and get them both coffee, leaving them alone.
The only time I have ever seen my dad cry was when we were all with her as she died. Silent tears. I never knew if it was regret for all the lost time or grief for losing the woman he just found again.
I started up my car again, wiping my face, driving carefully. I got home, took my little pile of memories and went into the apartment.
I heard little footsteps and looked down the hall. There was Lucky. Our cat. I hadn’t seen her since the middle of July. I barely got the door closed when she rushed me, like a dog. She put her feet up on my legs so I stooped down to pick her up. She followed me everywhere I went the rest of the evening. I missed her so much.
I missed being missed that much.
I may never have what my parents had but I know I had something close. I think that’s going to be good enough for me.
The past should be the past. It can destroy the future. Live life for what tomorrow has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away. The NoteBook