As I took care of my Dad in these last couple of months and stayed in my childhood bedroom....all the memories filled me, sustained me and comforted me. As a child my Dad was the strongest man I knew, he worked hard and alot but he had a movie star quality...my Dad could have been Omar Sharif's long lost brother the famous actor from Doctor Zhivago. He was handsome and quiet...unless you really managed to get yourself in trouble and then he was the strong voice of authority.
We were born and raised in a time when expressing feelings was not the norm. Think back to "Leave It To Beaver", proper, good etiquette but not touchy feely. I often referred to my Mom as Marilyn "June Cleaver" Boldt...not such a bad role model to have. So what made my Mom like June Cleaver...she was beautiful, proper, never had a bad word to say about anyone, she didn't yell, she had a way of changing her tone and she gave you a look that made you know she meant business. Her voice is one of the things I miss the most. She had a soft, almost sing song tone to her voice that in my world provided instant comfort. I loved how we could talk on the phone for hours. She was an amazing listener but one of her strongest traits was her almost therapeutic way of helping you make your own decisions. She listened, she never judged, she never told you what to do...she let you come to your own conclusions...a skill many people today do not have.
In contrast my Dad was quiet, a man of few words. He was hard to get to know, it was hard to get him to really open up and talk...and honestly...that kinda made him mysterious. He didn't wear his heart on his sleeve. I think, I believe...my Mom was the only person he really opened up to. My Dad did do one thing, probably one of the most significant things besides loving and marrying my Mom...he chose to stop the cycle of abuse. My Dad was an only child, his father was both verbally and physically abusive, his mother divorced and then proceeded to marry two others. His mother was a victim of abuse, low self esteem, trust issues, unable to express feelings and often seemed to view life from a half empty perspective. Her second husband was very similar to her first (my grandfather) and her third husband was probably the one that could have turned her life around. Mike Fruzen was a kind, gentle man that loved my grandmother Edna unconditionally and embraced her son and his family. Unfortunately Mike came along later in Edna's life and they did not have much time together before he passed.
I feel that my Dad's inability to express emotions stems back to his upbringing. As a test, while I stayed with him these last couple of months...I would say the same thing every night when he headed off to bed. "Dad, good night, sweet dreams and I love you". Each night he would turn, look at me smile and say "Okay, good night" or he would just say "Good Night" and continue down the hall. Having had a child that did not speak and was non-verbal until the age of 7 I never once doubted that Sam loved me eventhough he was never able to say it just as I never doubted that my Dad loved me too. Since my Mom's passing my Dad has picked out our birthday cards...I'm guessing a long tedious process for him...because it was in those cards that he attempted to express what he couldn't bring himself to say...and I have kept and cherish those cards.
I miss my Dad's beautiful blue eyes and am often brought to tears when I look in the mirror and see and remember the source of my "baby blues". I have engrained his smile in my mind and on my heart, an expression that for me told me more than words ever could. I miss you so much Dad!
My heart is healing...because...my Mom and Dad are again together...just as they were always meant to be. Yesterday my sister Wendy said that as she pulled into her driveway and looked into her front window she saw Mom sitting on her couch looking out the window. Wendy had a tough week at work and Mom must have known. Often times people think that if you return to work right away it is easier. Nothing about grief, missing a loved one, that empty feeling, the finality of a loved one being forever gone is easy. Life continues to be a distraction but there remains a void, a hurt, a need that you rationally know will never go away. The memories are priceless but the realization that all you have left is memories is still difficult to accept. Love the people around you, worry less and appreciate more. Get over the differences, the quirks and live life with that person fully and unconditionally.
I am often asked how Sam handles the passing of his grandparents. Hmmm...that is what I love about Sam. If you ask where Grandma and Grandpa are, he smiles and simply says "Heaven" and sometimes he will follow with "Home". Funny, in my homeschooling and religious education of Sam I don't recall ever really focusing on the concept of heaven. I need only turn back to the Bible to understand Sam's view and his comfort and peace...