We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. ~Madame de Stael, French-Swiss author
Those fortunate enough to have both their parents living can’t know how difficult life can be without them.
Nobody ever told me how many problems there are that perplex, problems a deceased parent certainly would have known the answers to.
Take the other night, for instance.
Earlier that day, I changed some AAA batteries and causally dropped the spent ones — four of them — into the trash can.
I didn’t think a thing about it…until I shot awake about one o’clock in the morning, convinced the entire lot was conspiring to ignite and burn the house down while I was asleep!
I spent much valuable time pondering what to do to prevent a fire. Should I put the used batteries in a plastic bag? Should I find an inflammable container and put them inside?
Finally, I got up, fished all four out of the trash, and laid them on the counter, far apart from one another so they’d have to play nice.
And then I went back to bed. Not to sleep, mind you, because who can sleep when they’re worried about waking up to a house full of flames and smoke?
Then it dawned on me. My late dad would have known what to do. And if he hadn’t, he’d have pointed me in the right direction so I could find out for myself. And then he’d have insisted I share what I learned with him.
When cancer stole my dad seven years ago, it took away my source of information. Business, landscaping, philosophy, finance — my dad knew all that. He could identify a million bugs, birds, trees, flowers, rocks. He knew when and how to prune the roses and what kind of fertilizer they needed; whether my clients would balk if I raised my rates; where the moon was in its cyclical dance across the sky.
My dad spent a lot of time studying. For him, education wasn’t a chore; it was a source of unending knowledge. He reworked algebra problems, read the dictionary, and played many hands of bridge. He perfected games like checkers, chess, and ping-pong; he was an avid reader of biographies.
And every Christmas or birthday, when asked what he wanted, he had the same answer — “Nothing. Just a card and maybe something you’ve written for me.”
That sounds too easy, Daddy, but here it is — love and miss you bunches!
P.S. Today would have been my dad’s birthday.