Carolann and I just returned to Dallas from a one week visit with our families in California. We had a wonderful time with our sons and daughters-in-law, our grandsons, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers and assorted others.
That’s what family reunions are all about. We return home for the first time in years and laugh about old times. We share a bit about our current lives, embellish our common past and commiserate over how old and fat we’ve all become.
We can’t believe how big the kids have gotten.
We take pictures, have another drink and laugh some more.
We pay tribute to those of us who have died and when we finally say our goodbyes we share sincere hugs, promising we’ll do this again soon.
Sometimes we know that won’t be possible.
When I was a boy my mother was my queen and goddess. She was there when I woke up and tucked me in when I went to bed. She sang Doris Day songs while doing housework.
Que sera, sera…
Whatever will be, will be.
The future’s not ours to see.
Que sera, sera…
What will be, will be.
She cooked, she cleaned and she sang after making sure that I started each day with a single thought:
“This can be a good day or a bad day, it’s all up to you.”
— Nancy Webster-Williams
She kissed me good morning, fixed my breakfast and lunch and kissed me goodbye.
Last Saturday, April 22, 2017, twenty of us – her children, grand children, great-grand children, siblings and extended family — gathered in a social room at her retirement home. Together again for the first time in many years we laughed and chattered and took a thousand pictures. We promised each other we’d do it again sooner rather than later.
At the end of the day when I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye she looked deeply into my eyes. No longer fuzzy headed, slightly confused or overwhelmed by the attention and the noise she said earnestly, “Take care of yourself, David. I love you.”
She said it twice for emphasis.
She looked at me again and I looked at her. I’m 65 now but I was seeing my mommy of 60 years ago.
We both knew that it would be for the last time.
I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think so. I think we both know and we’re fine. We had a proper goodbye with just the love and none of the tears.
I’ll phone her more often now and I’ll spend less time talking about myself. I’ll talk about us.
I’ll ask her, maybe for the first time ever, to tell me about her life, her thoughts and feelings.