Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ten Years Gone...
...and it's hard to believe it's been that long...

Time flies by so fast. As the years begin to recede into the distant memory, anniversary dates sometimes pass by unnoticed, and that's what happened to me. I didn't realize what day this wa until I saw the date on the computer screen. My Mom and Dad left this earth 10 years ago, and today's the tenth anniversary of his passing. Sometimes I can still hear Mom calling me to dinner, or Dad singing songs while playing the banjo; he could also play guitar and keyboards. Most afternoons or evenings, Mom would be playing hymns on the organ or singing and strumming her ukelele. I remember Dad playing his guitar alongside Mom on ukelele at church services sometimes.

I remember coming home from my job at the grocery store during high school, and we'd sit up and talk about anything, everything, and nothing until past midnight when Dad was on the road and my little sister was asleep. She treated me with respect, and that's my most deeply-etched memory of her. Dad and I never got to know each other well, but I remember shooting hoops with him in the back yard, or tossing a frisbee back and forth or going fishing with him in his canoe. He could and often was emotionally distant. In that way, I think I take after him.

Our family had its share of tension, more than its share sometimes. The bad memories live side-by-side with the good memories. We're all shaped by our memories, with achievements and shortcomings competing for the space within us. But it's too late to change things once they've happened. Our household was one of all-out devotion coupled with a sense of alienation, and to this day I remember how topsy-turvy everything seemed to be when I was growing up.

But I'm not writing this to disparage my Parents. I loved them both, although sometimes I acted like I didn't. I respected them. Sometimes they could both be a lot of fun, too. I respected them both, looked up to them, and in turn they treasured me, yet could be so frustrated with me. The good and the bad. My Dad wanted me to go into business with him. I told him no, thinking that if I couldn't get along with him very well at home, that me working for him would be a disaster (I never told Dad that). I'm sure that was the largest-single disappointment I ever caused him. Again, I Let Him Down. From that day on, we were never that close again.

My Parents did the best they could. They gave it all; I know they did. Maybe they gave too much. I had good times with both of them. We had fun along the way. No Parent can be perfect, but they tried to be. Do I miss my Dad? I'm not very sure about that, but he was a good guy. Do I miss my Mom? As the years went by, and I knew I wasn't measuring up to her and Dad's idea of how successful I should've been, tensions resulted and distance came between us, and I'm sad Mom and I weren't closer later on.

I wanted to try and honor their memory by writing this, and I'm not sure I accomplished that. But I remember them; they were both such a huge part of my life. They made sacrifices over and over and over again for us kids, and maybe I wasn't grateful enough. I don't think I'll ever come to terms with that, but I wanted to let the world know that They Were Here, They Did Exist, and I Remember Them. They did their best.

Rest In Peace, Mom and Dad...


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