For the second year in a row – Ben, our oldest boy/ man will not be coming with us to Myrtle Beach. It is not that he does not love us anymore.. I hope. He is now in college – and the colleges have already had their break. This leaves him home – alone – for a week – with a car. Hmmm. Am I too naïve to be worried – nay. Trusting. Life is changing.
For the first year in a long time I have not had to plan, plan, and plan care for Dad. I was always so worried that one of Dads caregivers would not make a shift and then Dad would be left alone on a week-end. So – I over-scheduled and had back up after back-up. The food was all prepared, packaged, and frozen for the week. The bills were all paid in advance. Phone numbers and contact information was thoroughly communicated… you get the drill. Dad would also be a bit worried I would imagine – although he was in such good hands – none of us really needed to be concerned. This year I am so under-planned it is ridiculous. Yet – here we are – without Dad… I would rather have the plan, plan, planning to do! Two very special men are out of the Myrtle Beach plans this year. Weird as it is – there is a giant hole that is left behind. Not sure what to do with it yet – can it be filled with books, rest, wine (grin) or good conversations with friends..
This is the first year that a dear friend of mine will not be joining us and our families reuniting. She has a new life with a new partner and there is no Myrtle Beach in her blood it seems anymore. She deserves this happiness as her life has not been easy as a single parent. Again, there is a hole – a divide.
And this is the third year that Mom is not around. There will be no one asking me for contact information – to watch for sharks – to be careful on the roads and to watch those crazy drivers! No one will be buying me a bathing suit as Mom always knew what would look relatively civil on me and I hated buying it myself. No Mom to take me out to spoil me with a meal from Red Lobster – just because – and fight me for the bill. No Mom to call and explain that we have arrived safely – not to worry. No Mom who will wish my family a great trip – and to not worry about a thing! To have fun. To get some rest (you look so tired, Stacey, you do too much!) But each time I pass a white rose … I will think of her.
Life happens. It happened to my Mom and Dad and now it is happening to me. I remember so well when my parents spoke about the changes their lives had endured. Some of their friends passed away – others divorced – others grew apart… I thought nothing about it at the time as their lives were so far apart from mine.
It seems that distance has almost been bridged. I am so glad I remember them talking about life changes – talking about firsts.. growing older… it makes my divide seem like it is a part of life. They survived it – I guess so too can I.
Mom and Dad were always there for my brother and I. In fact, I remember thinking that wherever they were – that was my home. Now that they are no longer here there are times, I must admit, that I feel a little homeless. But – other times I feel that life is happening to me the way it happened to my parents – and that it will all be okay. I wish they were here to talk to – to listen to my epiphanies as I age. Aha – I get it – moments. I wonder if they felt the same way?
As time passes, it seems I become more distant – yet closer to my family on so many dimensions. Life has a way of bridging gaps. Ben, Dad, my friend… my Mom. Through it all – I still know that I am home – home is where the family is – forever in my heart.