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Saturday, February 12, 2011

No Longer

It's been two weeks since my father in law died.
A recent phone call hit My Guy and his siblings when they were told:
"He has been cremated."
 And jogged my memory as well...
No matter our age we long for the love of our parents.

There was quite a family gathering for Mimi's funeral.
A couple of nights prior to it, we were at Dad's in Long Island.
He asked me where Mom which I replied:  "On my mantel."
 He knew Mom would prefer her ashes be sprinkled in the Atlantic over a mantel in Texas.
 Since one of my brothers had not left Texas I told him to bring her north.
"Really sis?"    "Really."  And so Mom joined us. 

Some may think it morbid but it was a lovely gesture on Dad's part.
 They'd been divorced for years and his Mom had just died.
He was thinking of OUR mother.  I'll never forget the evening.

My Guy and I and our then 11 year old #1 Son.  My two brothers and their wives.  And Dad.
We wore shorts and sweaters.  As the sun went down that summer evening we held hands
and walked an East Hampton beach.  We each took a handful of ash as our toes hit the surf.
We flung it as far as we could and prayed in our own way.
 Dad read a Scripture from the program of his Mom's funeral.....and some cried.
It was a beautiful, touching service.

Some peeps sitting on the perimeter of my life might give Dad a failing grade.
He has not been very involved.  And I know that.  And at times it hurts.  And...I love the man.

Recently Ron Reagan, Jr. wrote about HIS dad:

"Like all my siblings, I loved my father deeply, at times longingly.
He was easy to love but hard to know."

Longingly.  There it is.  As an adult I long for intimate talks and time with Dad.
 And I know him.  It's not going to happen.  Yet Dad has come through at a few incredible moments.
Mom went through a horrendous medical procedure when she was ill.
He flew down here to visit her.
 If one could bottle Light & Laughter in human form my Dad is it. 
Well, he knows when to be it.   I know he was Mom's best medicine during her illness.

Dad is the life of any party and turned his own Mom's funeral into a more memorable occasion.
As his daughter, I've inherited the love of a party. 
We recently had a sad-cation with My Guy's Dad passing.
Are you allowed to have FUN while mourning?
We had twelve family members stay with us.
The fire roared, air mattresses were all over.  
Patty's guacamole and my queso were wolfed down.
The wine flowed.  Two great nieces were happy to be here (i.e., out of school)
and did their homework in the midst of it all.
#2 Son commented that he wished we had company every night.

The sad-cation is over - that is - company is gone.  My Guy is back at work.
Life goes on.  But it'll never be quite the same without Don L.
I'm sure My Guy longs for one last talk with his Dad.
And his Dad was available to him. 
Larger than life, he filled a room when he entered.
Interesting.  Both our Dads have (or had) quite a presence.

How two weeks out of your year can really change the course!
And it's made me think - I don't want my boys to LONG for me.
I don't think they will.  They know they have me.
Whenever they want.
I think as parents that's the most important thing we can do.
Be available and love your children.



Dianne said...

Beautifully written!

catie said...

this is such a great message of empathy, virginia. being available and loving our children is really all that matters. ♥

Anonymous said... healthy, how healing. xoxoFRANCO

mary said...

Your last line is golden! ♥

Emily said...

Just beautiful Vava!