Postus interruptus

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.

 

So the next post I was planning to do was the third and final post on my recent trip to Europe.  I know you can’t wait.

ZZzzzz….

Well, you dodged a bullet.  For the moment.  I’m going to Plan B.

Do you remember the little kids song…  “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, but the other’s gold.”?

This past weekend I did an emergency trip to Cincinnati for one of those golden  friends.

A dear old friend of over thirty years who has become estranged over the last couple of years for reasons unknown to me, lost her mother to Alzheimer’s.  Her mom was like a 2nd mom to me for many years.

In this African-American family, I was the 4th, pale-skinned sister.  Miss Waldine made sure that I belonged.  She called me (and countless others) her “precious child”.  And I believed her.

There was no way I wasn’t going to be there for my estranged, yet ever golden friend to honor her amazing, loving mother.

Sound weird?  I thought it would be.

It wasn’t.

Turns out, when there’s a death in the family, the stupid things that separate you from life friends go out the window…

For those of you without a great grasp of U.S. geography, Cincinnati is about 470 miles (757km) and an 8 hour drive from Atlanta.  Google Maps says it’s 7 hours, but Google maps doesn’t know about the rain in the mountains just north  of Knoxville or the stand still traffic around Renfrow Valley.

Ugh.

So I spent 16 total hours driving up there on Friday and back on Saturday. I  only spent 17 hours in Cincinnati.

Crazy.  Yup – AGMA crazy.

But maybe not just AGMA crazy.  Maybe it’s just what lifetime friends do for other lifetime friends.  Irregardless if they have been pissy and weird with us.

It’s all about the love.  It’s always been all about the love.

When I got up there on Friday, my estranged friend seemed to have forgotten or at least put aside what she felt was the great divide between us.  I’m still not sure what it as all about. But there was no trace of it on Friday.

When I showed up at her house on Friday evening, she treated me like a sister.  Like we have always been.  Like it should always be.

On Friday there were hugs and tears and reunions and laughter.

I got caught up on her family.   This was quite revelatory since I’ve talked to her maybe 60 minutes total in the last 4 years.  During those 4 dry years, I’d ask about her husband and kids and grandkids and the rest of the family, and got the “They’re all fine.” answer.

Guess what?  They weren’t all fine.  And some of them still aren’t fine.  It all came spilling out.

I wasn’t going to bring up the last 4 years if she didn’t.  And she didn’t.

The family visitation Saturday morning was yet another chance to see other family members I hadn’t seen in years.  He son, her sister, her niece who’s like a daughter….  Kids who were itty bitty the last time I saw them now towered over me.

Honestly, where does the time go?

I said my goodbyes to her before the memorial service started because it wouldn’t be over when I needed to leave to head back home.  As we hugged each other tightly for nearly two minutes, the tears started to flow.  Both of us.  I made her promise that we wouldn’t lose touch again.  I told her I loved Miss Waldine.  I told her I loved her.

One of these days, I’ll ask her about the long, dry spell.  One of these days.

But not anytime soon.

“…one is silver, but the other’s gold.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Would Clarence Do?

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Today is the century anniversary of the birth of my father. 100 years.  Triple digits. January 3, 1914.  MY father.  Granted that he was older when I was born, but still….  Holy cow – a century!!

He journeyed from this world to the next at the beginning of the new millennium.  I’m so thankful that, until he broke his hip and died ten days later, he was relatively healthy, had a sharp, quick mind and memory, and lived independently.

He and his wife moved the two hundred miles in 1991 to relocate to our city, like so many other aging parents, when health issues forced their hand.  My step-mother had Alzheimer’s.  So we lived within 12 miles of each other for the last 9 years of his life.  A chance for redemption I thought.  I was wrong.

My father was not a nice man.  Any relationship he had spoiled like milk soured after not being put back in the fridge before a vacation.  He was simply incapable of loving anybody but himself and left a family of walking wounded in his wake.  My mother, myself and my siblings, our spouses, his grandchildren, his wife – we all bear or bore the scars of his extreme narcissism.

In the very last episode of the 80’s era TV show Dallas, JR was able to see how much better life would have been for most of the people in his life if he had never been born.  The same might be said about my father.  His really, wasn’t a wonderful life.  I wonder how Clarence would’ve handled that one?

So no redemption was found in proximity; in the naive idea that physical closeness would result in everything finally being made right and good and whole.   But it hit me this week – it’s there!  It’s tucked deep down in the DNA helixes passed on.   His children and grandchildren.

Happy 100th Daddy.