My mom died in March of 2014. My dad died 3 years later, in August of 2017.
It sounds so simple and compact. The World Trade Centers collapsed. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The US bombed Hiroshima. The Nazis exterminated six million people. A meteor wiped out 80% of life on Earth. History reduces the cataclysmic to a footnote.
My one insignificant life was cataclysmically changed by my parents’ deaths. On my computer’s desktop that I see every day, I installed a photograph of Mom and Dad, smiling from beneath an umbrella on a rainy, celebratory day. “I’ll never change this background for the rest of my life,” I thought.
A couple of years later, a friend sent this photo of them, canoeing on an exquisite fall day, on the glorious lake where they both grew up and fell in love. I changed the photo. They are farther away now, but always there when I open my computer.
It gives me stomach knots when the thought rises, but I’m feeling the possibility grow that there will come a time for this photo, too, to run its course. My life continues. New pulsing centerpoints crowd into my soul, the insistence of ongoing life. Greenery pushes through cracks in the sidewalk and emerges from scorched land.
I will never release Mom and Dad from my heart, but if they heard that I am drifting towards life’s expanding glories rather than missing them, they’d say, “Well it’s about time!”
(For those who haven’t seen it, my essay about my parents’ extraordinary life endings is published here, in Solstice Literary Magazine: https://solsticelitmag.org/content/how-do-you-help-your-parents-die/)
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 110: 246 words, TOTAL = 18,195; 41,805 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.