Tis' the season following Christmas when many folks are struggling with one heartbreak after another. I'm not typically affected by an event or calendar date once a trauma has passed me by. I know many folks who almost seem to plan that once something has affected a holiday, that forevermore that same holiday is tainted. I think perhaps a person is pre-planning their mindset and scheduling the affect as a bondage or being held hostage by the thing they cannot change.
I must admit however that this year, right now, I've been struggling with the loss of my mom 10 years ago this June and during a mid-day snooze the other day I had a disturbing dream. My healthy mother was in it. She visits me now and again in dreams and mostly never says anything or comes near, but often is just smiling at me. This time though I was feeling so saddened by her absence that when she suddenly appeared I was sobbing and telling her how much I've missed her. My mother was hugging me so tightly that I'm sure I sensed her spirit with me. It brought me peace yet I awoke with tears still brimming in my eyes and running down my cheeks. Ah, mom some days I want you here so badly, but believing what I do, you're not really longing to be here. Why would she long to leave a perfect place with the loving presence of her Savior to come back to a world wrought with pain, suffering and sorrow? I don't think she is.
Today would have been my parents 63rd anniversary had it not been for the dreaded PSP or at least that's what I'd like to believe. Very possibly something else could have occurred but we hang our hats on the disease that took our lovely mother prematurely away. Can you imagine being married sixty-three years to the same person? It's a remarkable journey and I applaud any couple that lands on each marking point still standing together by choice. I remember so many little tidbits of Mom and Dad's marriage and in the last 3 years of their life together I was privileged to be there daily. While I've mentioned it before in my writings, one of my fondest memories is my dad feeding the first line of a song that he and my mother knew from their era of music, and my mom would dutifully sing the next line. A pattern that was put in place long before mom was ill carried into a time when they longed for some routine and normalcy. I loved hearing mom sing when I was younger and now waited with bated breath to hear her utter her part loud and clear. This went on day after day and it was one of the little ways that dad kept mom engaged in life when she might rather have been left quietly alone. It was a complete effort for mom to put together any sentence let alone sing a line of a song, but she would muster up all the energy she could and take her part, delighting us each time. It was my parents love language and I was a voyeur in their inner sanctum.
As mom's disease progressed she needed help with absolutely everything and so at bedtime we developed a routine together. Dad was tired by the end of the day and on the nights I was available I would walk mom back to the bedroom and help her do all the things necessary to tuck her in at night. On one occasion we began our two-step when suddenly 85 pounds of nothingness stopped dead in her tracks ~ Mom may as well have been 1000 lbs. I said "Mom, whats up?" She had paused next to my father's chair and he answered, "Oh, I almost forgot. Earlier today your mother threatened to kiss me goodnight". Mom giggled and bent over as best she could to kiss my dad and when she stood up again he said "I want you to know that you are the finest person I have ever known in my life and you have done far more for me than I could have ever done for you." I was frozen in place as I heard this intimate exchange of love so unexpected, even by my mother. Not to be anything other than a human male, the next phrase from my dad was "now, why are you crying?" :)
I tucked my mom in bed that night, put her eye drops in and kissed her on the cheek. An action with my mom that I never imagined I would be doing but cherished as each day went by. Sometimes I went right back to what I was doing before I walked her to bed, and other nights I went to my room and sobbed.
Fifty-three years didn't come easy, I'm sure. But as my dad said at a memorial luncheon for mom, "Everyone keeps saying to me what an honorable man I've been, but in my day when you said I do, that meant for better or worse. A promise is a promise." Thank you mom and dad, for the memory and the legacy.