Life is short and dead is for a very long time.
I have debated a week as to whether or not to tell this story as I do not want people to feel sorry for me, nor do I want a pat on the back. I wanted to share these thoughts as there is no doubt in my mind that others have experienced the same questions and maybe many still do.
Last weekend I traveled to New Jersey to visit with a few relatives, friends and to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Warren Twp. Police Department, which our father served as the first Chief of Police. The celebration coincidentally fell on the three year anniversary of dad’s funeral.
After the event, I drove to the mausoluem where my parents are reunited forever.
It was the first time I cried since my mother died on June 13th. Finally.
I stood before their crypt and thanked them for being the parents they were. While not perfect (who is?), they did the best they could whith what they knew at the time. I forgave them for the times I thought they fell short and apologized for the many ocasions I let them down,. At the time of both their deaths, I was confidant that there was nothing left between us that needed to be said. Our relationships were healed and completed. Yet, maybe it was not, as I wish I could have done more and been a better son, especially during the last days of each of their lives. There are only two ways to be born, yet a million and two ways to die. As fate had it, they suffered through their last days and I would not wish the last month of their lives on anyone. It sucked.
My sixty two years played out before me, recalling many events with both of them, my sisters and other family and friends. A highlight came from 1978 when our family was recognized as the Family of the Year for the entire State of NJ. I suppose that didn’t happen by accident and it was the first and only time that honor was ever bestowed.
From them I learned that a perfect marriage isn’t about all the good, fun things, but is demonstrated by two, imperfect people who never gave up on each other. My parents never gave up on each other. . . or me.
I thanked them for all of that, told them that I loved them and walked back to my car.
I consider myself fortunate that my parents were around long enough to see us grow up, hold their grandchildren, share their lives and for my mother, to be able to hold her great grandaughter.
While I have countless pictures of them taken since 2006, the photo below is from when they came to SC to spend Christmas with my family and friends. This might be the last taken of just the three of us.
If you are fortunate to have either/both parents still alive, please take the time to thank them, forgive them, make amends and tell them that you love them as we never know what tomorrow brings.