Its funny. My parents, Marj and Herb, have been gone 22 and 19 years, respectively. And yet I see them often. In my dreams. I can't say that I have vivid ones, nor do I remember them every morning. But every so often it would seem I awake with dreams so real that it takes a few seconds to shake the memory away and bring me to my senses. Just the other day I awoke to having done something admirable, downright sacrificial for a guy I despised at the Mary where I used to work. Its nice to know I can be a nice guy -- in another dimension.
Today's Flashback is a photo of my folks. Herb has his suit jacket and tie in his hands with the car keys. Must have been to some formal function, but I can't imagine where. In looking at the picture I don't even know where they are. At first I thought it was the front yard of the Seaton homestead, but we didn't have a little tree there and looks like there are sidewalks, and we didn't have those either. Mysteries. Maybe some help from the bros.
Marj was a classy dresser when she went out. She was classy casually when home, too. Mad Men classy. Everything was coordinated and matched, or accented each other. She had bad hips. Before I got married I'd go home on one of my days off and she sent me into stores to get her stuff. At times I'd go into Catherine's to take something back or pick up she'd ordered out of the catalog. There was a fabric store in G-Burg she'd send me in to get skeins of yarn. It wasn't one of my more pleasant jobs. She'd say, for example, go in and bring out various gray colored yarn so she could see for herself which one she needed for her knitting projects. I'd go in and ask if I could slip outside to show her what I had. They always let me. There could often be several trips in and out to complete the deal. She also took advantage of me by sending me into grocery stores with her lists. My compensation was the ability to pick something up for myself. Not always fun stuff but looking back, I'd love to be her runner one more time.
We lose people throughout our lives. You lose something more when you lose a parent. Beside a loved one, you also lose a kind of anchor to your world. As a kid with parents, there is always that layer of safety and security. A kind of back-up if and when things go wrong. When you lose them you are on your own. That void is never filled. Can't be.
Its been long enough the sting of their absence is gone but every so often my mind wanders and teases me with the prospect of calling home to suddenly realize its no longer possible. But the longing remains. 309-586-5251. I suspect if I live another 20 years the same thoughts will bubble up from who knows where. And I reckon in those dreams I'll see them again and we'll talk of things that need mending or to tell a joke. To visit again and swap stories. Maybe to get some yarn or groceries. Such are the dreams of orphans.