January 16, 2016
It’s been five years and one month since my Dad passed away on Christmas Day. Thirty-three years ago, my mom passed away in the same month she was born. Being a numbers addict, I found it fascinating how the numbers matched their birthdays when both passed away.
My Dad would have been 101 years old this January. He was one of the young ones who never let a day go by without doing some kind of moving about; he never sat still. He stayed in good health throughout his life.
I never thought of him as old. He was a snappy dresser, shoes were always polished, never a stray hair out of place. Even his work clothes were tidy.
The stories Dad told about his life and the things he witnessed still amaze me. Once, I asked him about his native heritage. “We were afraid to talk about it, and we had to keep quiet; that’s the way people were back then.” He told me how the area had once been populated by Natives, but they drifted away when he was young. I couldn’t imagine it, even now. So much history he witnessed that I wished I’d known more about before he passed.
He doted on my children. I’ll never know if he was proud of me for raising three on my own. He always had my back, though.
I wrote him a poem the year after he passed; I hoped he’d read it over my shoulder, and the year after that, too. That was the only way I knew to talk to him in private, words floating on the air.
I think of Mom and Dad often.
I miss Dad most when his birthday comes around. This year, I’ve finished my grieving and can finally let him go. Life goes on.
I don’t remember my mother much, and I cannot imagine how she’d be today if she were still alive. I have dreamed about her in my sleep. All I can remember about her is her hearty laughter, her piercing blue eyes, and her love for guns. Every day of her life, she broke out with a song at some point. Diabetes struck, and she went blind after my daughter was born. One day, during that first month, she sang a little rabbit-child song across the room; as I said the words to my daughter, I looked up and realized my mother was singing. It broke my heart, and I’ll treasure that moment forever. I put my baby’s cheeks next to Mother’s lips for her to kiss.
The only attribute she passed down to me was a love of arrowheads. She never stopped searching for her heritage. I’m still trying to finish what she started years ago.
I miss them terribly, but Life goes on.
Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad. I love you.
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