Home > Family, Life Lessons > Two years ago today…

Two years ago today…

…my life forever changed.

I will never forget the moment. Charles and I were in his friend’s Jeep, about to head downtown for the annual birthdays celebration. My brother called (which is odd on its own), but I was in a Jeep with no top, and I figured he’d leave me a message. He called back three more times, so I figured I should probably return the call.

I think those few moments in the Jeep were the last carefree moments of my life. Dad was sick, but had traveled to Charlottesville the day before to receive his fourth degree with the Knights of Columbus. There were no signs of anything going wrong.

Just the way he wanted it.

Dad never wanted to suffer long or lose any of his faculties. It made him sad to meet formerly brilliant men who were affected with dementia. I can remember him telling me a few years early that that was one of his biggest fears…to seem so small and helpless when once he seemed so smart.

My brother was calling me home because Dad was declining. Fast.

When I got home and saw Dad, I congratulated him on getting his fourth degree the day before. “Is it still Sunday?” he sighed. The few hours it took me to get there seemed like an eternity to him.

Family filtered through…Mom’s sister’s family, the older grandchildren who could grasp what was happening, and Dad was lucky enough to spend his last weekend on earth with his little sister, who he’d always loved so much.

In those last few hours, my worldview changed.

I’ve prided myself on establishing my own life, an independant life. A life where I didn’t “need” anyone else.

But in those hours, I needed my family and they needed me.

I could see the strength that my Dad got from my mom…the strength to let go and let it be. I could see the strength that she got from him. The strength to let him go.

And the next morning when Charles arrived to do whatever he could do, he was my strength. All he had to do was sit in the living room and be there. The simple fact that he was there was plenty for me.

And it was in that moment that I knew I would marry him.

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  1. Emily
    May 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Mary, this post is beautifully written! I love how despite something so big and traumatic going on, you were not only able to lean on Charles, but could clearly see how important he would be for you for the rest of your life.

  2. May 31, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I hate you for making me cry.

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