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missing dad… on their anniversary

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Friday, January 18, 2002 at 2:23 am by flerly.

today would have been mom and dad’s 51st anniversary. wonder if i’m the only kid that remembers. wonder how mom is. i miss her.

had a long talk with jim about getting married. he knows me pretty well. He says if James and I aren’t 100% sure that this is what we want, that we shouldn’t do it.

When I think of getting married, I think of dad. I remember that is what he wanted for me more than anything, and I don’t think I resisted anything harder while he was alive. I remember when he was on his deathbed though, when James was there by my side for support, that I wanted more than anything to tell him that we were getting married, and that James was going to be there to take care of me after he was gone, and that he didn’t need to worry. Mom told me he worried about me so much, being youngest, and single, and living so far from home. Dad always thought I tried to cut off my family so much.. and was probably right. We’re all spread so far apart. Even so, though, according to mom, my reputation is reknown. Apparently my brothers kid about how fast i’d leave James if he ever proposed. Little do they know, I guess. That’s why I “cut them off”.. they just don’t know me really. According to mom, they really don’t know her either. While dad was sick, I think they all realized the connection between mom and me. I miss dad so much, but mom… it scares me to think of life without her around.

I’ve been thinking about getting married, for lots of reasons. Fear of getting older alone, partially. Then, well, I think in my mind marriage has always really been a sign of real commitment. Before, I always knew I was with the wrong guy.. so when they started talking marriage, the fun was over… or rather, the pretending it might work out was over. With James, I can’t say he’s the wrong guy. He joked about it last October when some friends of ours got married, and I didn’t freak out. I thought. yeah. I could do this. That reaction in itself scared me.

Now, today, on the anniversary of the day my mom and dad got married, i’m sitting here wondering if marriage is the right thing. I know I love James. I know he can make me feel absolutely wonderful, like I’m the most special person on the planet. He is so smart, and funny, and attractive. He loves and supports me… and well, he has doubts, too, so I know he’s human. (This in comparion to an ex who was sure marriage would fix all that ailed us). James even has the plan right.. no wedding. Just us in Las Vegas. That is sincerely my dream. A marriage for me has never been about pleasing my family in some way.. it’s been about making that connection with your partner that really only matters to you two.

So why am I unsure? Is it just the lifelong habit of saying No to proposals.. to being sure I was in love, only to find out I was just afraid to move on alone? Jim helped me out of a relationship like that once, and I thought I fell in love with him then. There wasn’t any sparkage, though.. we could never be more than friends, although.. in my mind we are. He’s like my family. He, even above James sometimes, is the person I am closest to. I can tell him anything, and if I can’t.. then he can drag it out of me with a look. He is always honest with me, brutally so most times, and though I hate it, I love and respect him for it. He’s such a great guy that I often wish that we had worked out together, though deep down I’d never wish to be the one who prevented him from finding that true love out there. When I see him in love with somebody, it both hurts and makes me feel wonderful. I love it when he’s happy, because I care for him so much.. but still, that little part of me will always compare every man in my life to him.

That’s why now, with this perhaps unusual living situation placing my best friend and my love in the same house, side by side, that I think I am finally seeing how a guy could measure up to be marriage worthy. Heh, I say that like it’s his privaledge to be wed to me.. which I wish it was really, but I’m just not confident enough to believe that.

He’s afraid we’ll get boring. That he’ll be drawn elsewhere. That’s a scary admission, but one I’m glad he made to me. He is so young, and I think all young people have that fear that they’re not really living life to it’s fullest. I know I used to be that way. I hit the point, though I dont remember exactly when, when I decided that there was a million things I wanted to do in my life and that would never change… but I realized that sharing my life with someone special didn’t mean I’d give that up. It just meant that I needed to find that person that wanted to share those million things with me. Always looking for something new in life, but holding on to that one thing of comfort, that one person who knows and loves you, whom you trust to be there, and whom you would do anything for in return. Sharing that life adventure. Doesn’t sound so bad anymore. In fact, sounds a hell of a lot better than walking off into the unknown alone. Maybe it’s just easier to think of making that step toward change when you’re holding onto someone’s hand, when you can glance back and see that smiling face for reassurance.

Mom and dad were there for each other for 50 years. That’s just incredible to me. My brothers and sisters are all multiple divorcees. In my opinion, they all bent to Dad’s overly religious will and got married to be married and not for any of the right reasons. With our parents as a role model, how could they not marry for life. How could they even think of marriage as this trial run that you do to get to know somebody? Marriage is a big deal… though maybe I’m the only one who got that. Yeah, it makes perfect sense why i’m the butt of the marriage jokes in the family. They just dont know how funny their jokes really are.

My sister for instance… she’s on number three, though number three thinks he’s number two, and if either of them ever read this (which i doubt), i apologize for the big reveal, but i’m making a valid point here. After so many wrong turns, after a mispent youth of marrying too young, she decided this time is forever. She just decided. She told herself and him that if she agreed to marry him, that it was going to be forever, that she wasn’t going to divorce, that she would stick it out, work through whatever, and it didn’t matter what happened. I’m not doubting that they are in love, by any means.. just that it blows my mind that someone would actually have that arrangement beforehand… a conscious effort to stay together. To me that says.. I just met you, I’m not sure if I really love you, but I think I do, and because if we want to see if we can get along, we should get married to please our families, but because i’ve done that enough, we’re sticking with it, like it or not. A stupid start, in my book. Though, i think they’re going on about 10 years together now… and since i’m so “cut off” i couldn’t tell you if it ever turned out to be true love, but I hope it did.

I’m not saying that I don’t believe in divorce, because I can’t say that if this person I marry, that I truly believe I knew with all my heart someday turns into a psycho hose beast and starts to treat me bad, that I’m going to stay, because that will never happen. I am just saying that if after all the time we’ve spent getting to know each other, i feel 99.9% confident that he doesn’t have some dark side that hasn’t revealed itself.. and vice versa. All dark sides are revealed all around, that is. Not that we don’t have them. We are mutually insane, and hopefully our insanities complement each other.

Which leads to one last point… when you’ve lived fifty years as part of a whole that makes sense, how do you deal with losing that person. This is where my mom is right now. Commemorating what would have been year 51 by tending flowers at a meager little gravesite. One that in fact already has her own name on it as well, because someday in death they will lie side by side as a couple again, and be somehow whole again. How could it possibly feel to look at your own name on a tombstone? Worse than seeing the name of your true love and being overcome with the wash of memories of his touch and smell and voice.. I can hardly imagine wanting anything more than to just be lying beside him already, and it terrifies me to think of mom in that state of mind.

I hope i’m wrong. I hope that mom and I dont really have that connection where we know each other better than anybody else, because I dont want to be right on this. I want to believe that she is making her way up there, in that big house the has his imprint all over it, doing her best to stay happy and healthy and find her place in the world for a time on her own. But I have my doubts. Not that I think that she is in anyway suicidal… just that to exist in that state of mind, with that kind of depression, it seems so cruel. She certainly doesn’t deserve to live such a tortured life. I wish with all my heart that we lived closer together.. that it wasn’t five hours driving to see her face, and that I never had to see the tears in her eyes as I packed up to make the long drive home. But… that’s the house she is staying in. Their house. And that’s not where my life is. Wishing doesn’t make things happen, I know that, or daddy would have woken up at least one more time in that hospital so I could say goodbye, but he didn’t.

Things happen too fast. Too unexpectedly. Everything I think I know and have here could be gone tomorrow. It’s not under our control, as much as we’d like to imagine it is. When I look at my life right now, I shudder to think what might be left behind if I were to die tomorrow. What mark did I make on the world? Who would miss me, really.. who would even really know me well enough to know what would really be missing without me. This all makes me want to get married. It’s just time to share myself and my life with that special someone, and I think James is it. It’s just his quiet strength. When I feel like a total wreck and my life is spinning out of control, he is just there.. to hold me. It’s the most comforting thing I can think of, short of one of those hugs you got early on a Sunday morning when you jump into your parents bed in your pajamas. This is all sounding to me like a “dad is gone, so replace him with a husband” scenario, which i wont totally deny. But if I really thought that’s all it was, I’d be rethinking this. This is about growing up, moving on, and living life before life is over. I think that childish notion that somehow, someway, I’d life forever is finally gone. Now, I don’t care to live forever.. I just want to live.


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