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Mom and Dad I’m Sorry

It’s about 5 am. I had a dream that unsettled me. I was out and about without a care in the world in some diner and my uncle somehow found me.

In his calm, cool but oh so humbling tone, he proceeded to tell me that my parents were worried about me and wished that I would take the time to just call. He said he felt the need to drive from NY to Maryland to give me that message personally, face-to-face.

It shot straight to my heart. I wrapped up my food and left feeling horrible.

I woke up and called right away.

No answer, I panicked.

* Background for context: My dad just got a cell phone in the fall and the reason why he finally did it was actually to rescue me, find me in NYC to give me money when I made the bus trip to go to a wedding and left my wallet wedged in the seat of my car at the park and ride where I caught the bus…in Maryland. I called my dad and he went and bought a prepaid phone so he could find me wherever I was once he got into the city.

This morning, I called his cell, it was off. I forgot we didnt set up his voicemail, because he said he didnt need it. My dad isnt much of a phone person.He fought against buying a cell phone for soooo long, but he didn’t hesitate when he heard his baby girl was in trouble!

Back to this morning, again…. I sent him a text. “Love you Dad. Miss you. Hope you remember how to find your texts.”

He just called me back now. It made me feel so good to hear his warm voice with a twinge of a North Carolina drawl come through the phone.

I told him about my dream and how I knew I had to call and that he and mom have done so much for me and that I miss them. That I got a little scared and with the sudden passing of the amazing Whitney Houston, I felt like they needed to know I love them so much and they needed to know right NOW. I would not be able to return to a restful sleep without speaking to at least one of them.

He told me it was alright and that he did talk to me for my birthday last week and he knew I was busy. That week felt so long for some reason to me and we arent the type of family that needs to call everyday. Usually two weeks is our max of going without a call. I told him I wanted to do better.
I told him about my week, and having to get the heat fixed on my car.

He interrupted me politely, suggesting we carry on this conversation later on the house line.
Not because he just arrived at work and had to go.

Because, “You usin’ up all the minutes on my phone!” He said with a chuckle.

That’s my daddy.

If your parents or parental figures are living and breathing, call them today. Even for two minutes.

If they are not here, remember a special moment you had with them that always makes you smile or laugh.

It’s Valentine’s eve and that day is not only about romantic love. I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

RELATED POST: “The Reality of Your Parent’s Mortality”

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The Reality of Your Parents’ Mortality

One of the harshest realities of getting older is the fact that everyone is getting older too, including your parents.

I’m not even 30 yet, and I’ve already had a number of friends lose a parent or be faced with the challenge of standing by and taking care of a parent who is seriously ill.

A good friend traveled to see his father in the hospital recently and while he was there, it seemed his father improved. Unfortunately, his father has gotten worse since he left town and he told me simply, “What it comes down to is he’s dying and the most important thing is to keep him comfortable.” He said the family will have to now start looking at hospice options and prepare to say goodbye.

My friend is trying to take it all in stride, while being a rock to his siblings.  I told him if he needed anything to please let me know, but I’m sure there is nothing I can do or say to give him enough comfort in such a difficult moment.

Sometimes my father tries to talk to me about his concerns after he is gone and I really can’t stand it. It makes me uncomfortable, it scares the crap out of me. I’d hate to think that my superman will ever leave me. Aside from Jesus, he’s the only man who has NEVER let me down. I’d hate to think that someday my mom won’t be able to make me hot tea so perfectly when I come home or feel her hugs. Who else will tell me bluntly, when I’m just not on point as I should be?

As our parents age, and as illness comes, the tables start to turn. We become protective of them, we admonish them to take better care of themselves, some of us even go as far as physically dragging them to the doctor ourselves. Maybe these actions are our desperate attempt to possibly outwit the inevitable, but we do whatever it takes to keep them here forever.  No matter how grown we are, our parents keep us grounded, our parents make us feel safe and they give us their strength and wisdom. When we stop being stubborn and difficult, we accept those gifts and we cherish them. They remind us to be better people. They take pride in our successes and they build us back up when we fail. Even in the face of old age and or illness, our parents continue to prepare us throughout our lives, for our lives. If we are blessed to have them in our adulthood, they are working even harder to prepare us for our lives without them.

When we lose them, there is a pain that can’t be described, I am told. Those scars remain, and I notice that on holidays, birthdays and special occasions, while my friends who have lost their parents do their best to carry on, there is a private part of them that is solemn. You may catch them quickly in a special thought or memory looking out with a faraway gaze. When I notice it, I dare not disturb it. It is fleeting and they’ll usually sneak back into the groove unnoticed. Even for my parents, while my grandparents may have been gone for decades, I know there are times they really miss them still and wish they were around to guide them or share a moment.

My sister often jokes that when she goes to visit our aunt’s grave, she imagines our Aunt Mae telling her, “Girl, stop looking at this piece of stone in the ground. Don’t stay too long, because you have to go out and live your life.”

For some reason, I think our lost loved ones do believe that wherever they are. It is more than alright to remember (it is our duty), but we must not linger too long, because we must live the lives they wanted for us and to live them well, filled with happiness, because one day, all too soon, we too will be gone.

Side note: I don’t want anyone to take this blog too literally to apply to biological parents. Whoever was a parental figure to you, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents, adoptive parents, this is for everyone. 

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