Monday, April 11, 2011

Does Dad Know?

Tomorrow is April 12. Last year on this day we celebrated my parent's 69th wedding anniversary at their adult family home. It was a happy occasion with local family gathered together to honor a man and woman in their 90's whose long marriage was a story of great love punctuated by the the ebb and flow of life; joy and loss, struggle, adventure, family, friends, and accomplishments.  Looking back, I'm so glad we partied in grand style in that off year. We made much of their 50th and 60th Anniversaries and would have done the same for their 70th had that been in the cards. 69 years as a married couple was their legacy together. They were blessed.
Dad's been talking about Mom a lot in recent weeks. He'll focus on her picture hanging on the wall of his room and comment about what a beautiful woman she was or he'll remark about her many talents and how so many cherished and admired her. Indeed. She was an amazing woman. I believe with all my heart that he loved her deeply.

Dad has also asked about the date of Mom's death. He couldn't recall for sure and when I told him we were coming up on the 6 month mark, he was surprised. I know he misses her terribly. In later years, they rarely left each others company. For better or worse, I would think as Mom's mental and physical health deteriorated. Day in and out it was Doris and Dean. Dean and Doris. 

April 12, 2010

A week or two ago, Dad, in a contemplative moment advised me that in his view " the biggest question in the universe" is "where do we go when we die?". Dad will come up with heavy stuff like this every now and then. He allowed that the choices were "nowhere, Heaven, or Hell". Several days later he mentioned that he was fine with cremation, that what lasts when we die is our spirit and that "there wouldn't be room for all those bodies in an afterlife".  He's obviously thinking about death and dying. I feel honored to be a part of his musings. These are things I think about too.

What I don't know is if Dad has figured out that tomorrow is not only his 70th Wedding Anniversary but the 6 month mark to the day (also a Tuesday) that he awoke, ate his breakfast, and waited in a living room chair until I arrived at the house. I'd been summoned urgently by a loving caregiver at the home with news that my Mom was close to death. I tried to make the car trip in time to be there at the end but didn't make it.  I arrived in time to meet Dad at the door to Mom's room and tell him she was gone. I will never forget his face. It's not that he didn't know this was coming; we all did and we'd made peace with the inevitable as we sat vigil by her bedside for the several days prior to her death. But, we all left at night to sleep and rest up for the next day. I wish I'd stayed that last night. She died around 8 AM on that lovely fall morning in October. Dad mentions regularly that one of his favorite caregivers was "with Mom at the end" and he's glad of that. Likewise.

I'll visit Dad tomorrow and I'll probably remind him that it's April 12th. It may make him sad. It makes me sad. But I suspect we can comfort each other because that's what we do.


  1. I wish I'd flown up to Seattle for a visit this April. If I'd only known there would be a lull here in Houston. June it is, however, and then Dad and I can visit again. That is the hope.

  2. It's good that you and your dad can comfort each other. You are still making memories.

    You have had a unique situation, Kate. I don't know anyone else whose parents were married that long or whose parents lived into their 90's. It doesn't make the loss any easier.

  3. I'd forgotten our parents shared the same anniversary. Mine were married in 1947. Those dates are hard now, aren't they?


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