I don’t know exactly when the photo was taken. Nor do I recall with any precision how this one, among thousands of others, ended up on my counter, a single picture among all the daily necessities of life — a can of Barbosal, a tube of Crest, my prescription bottle full of Simvastatin.
Lulu looks to be about 16. Maybe it was my dad’s 90th birthday some 40 months ago. There we are: my mom and dad seated. Lulu and I standing arm-in-arm between them, and my dear friend Pete standing over our shoulder, sunglasses hanging from his neck, with a devious little smile and holding a camcorder filming the whole scene. If I can figure our how to scan the picture, I’ll post it sometime along with this letter.
I love the photograph; it’s a part of my every day life. My mom passed away two years ago this month having lived a very good 89 years, 65 of them married to my dad. My dad turned 93 this June and about a month later, came home from a short stay in the hospital to finish his life. Our best guess is that he’ll be with us a couple more months. He, too, has a had a very good and long run and our only wish for him is that it will end soon and end quietly. I am the third of four children and my life has been blessed not only by two wonderful parents but also with three wonderful siblings who are are close by my dad and taking terrific care of him.
My dad called me four times yesterday. He had received an invitation to an event in Atlanta and wanted to let me know he didn’t think he could come. Pretty much, that was the subject of all four calls. After over 90 years of being sharp as a tack, some dementia has arrived and appears to have progressed quite rapidly along with his cancer. He called my sister last night at three in the morning. Another phase of all this seems to be coming and we are not looking foward to it or what comes next.
Pete also died two years ago this month. That one still is hard to come to terms with. I loved everything about Pete. For me, he was an inspiration; a wonderful husband to Beth and an even more wonderful father to his two girls. I got to spend yesterday with Beth, along with a bunch of good friends and good people. I love Beth too and I love her girls; I have been truly amazed with their strength and courage. I sure do miss Pete.
In a short while, three of the five people in my photo who played such an important role in my life will be gone from this world. I can’t begin to explain how much I miss my mom, every day. But I have my picture and glancing at the five of us just a few years ago, all so happy and full of life, is part of my life, every day.