I Miss All of You So Much.
I would have the people that I was closest to when I was growing up all at my daughter's home for a wonderful meeting to tell them about my life since they left me for the last time.
First, I would see my dad healthy and laughing and not as I last saw him. So ill and struggling for every breath. I would introduce him to his granddaughter and grandson and he would get to finally know these special parts of himself. He would be very proud of them and I would tell Dad of how wonderful he was to me. How I treasure our last talk when he told me how sorry he was that he would not live long enough to watch me grow up into a woman. And that what I remember the most is that he told me that he was always so proud of me. I would tell Dad that I forgive him for his drinking and that I now understand the demons that drove him to drink.
Then I would see my mother walking up to my daughter's horses with a bag of apples like she used to do here at my house countless times over the years. Mom would have that beauty and grace that I remember from her later years. I would watch as she greeted my dad with a kiss and hug and then I would walk over to her and introduce her to my future son-in-law and daughter-in-law and we would hug and shed a few tears of happiness. And I would tell Mom how much I miss her and how I look for her even now after the nine years she has been gone.
Down the road would come a brown car that carry my Aunt Betty and Uncle Mel. The same car that brought them to my grandparents house so many years ago through a blizzard to celebrate a family Christmas. That was the best Christmas of my life. All the people that I loved best were safe and warm in that old farmhouse and I can still smell the wet woolen mittens hanging out to dry behind my grandma's wood stove. Hear the laughter of our parents from the kitchen as they sat and played cards while my cousins and I sat curled up together listening to Grandpa's radio as "The Shadow" overcame the evil that lurked in the hearts of men. I would tell my aunt and uncle how much I appreciated all that they did for me and remember together how much loved flowed between the three of us.
I would see my cousins, Debbie and Bob who both died way too young and I would hug them once again and tell them how much I miss them. Debbie who was beautiful and brave and who inspired all of us as she fought an illness for five years that finally claimed her life. Bob, the first boy who told me that he loved me and that ,if we were not cousins, that he would marry me. His illness was quick and he did not live long enough for the heart transplant that he so desperately needed.
I would see Sue, my mother's best friend. Sue was with Mom the night I was born and Sue showed me so much love over the years. She was a warm and soft women whose kitchen brimmed over with wonderful smells and she always had a huge pot of sauce simmering on the back burner.
I would see my mom's mother walking over from across the road with a huge batch of her homemade bread and some butter that she had made from cream that she got from her Jersey cow. Grandma was always my champion and would scold my mother for scolding me. Grandma's big house was always filled with laughter. I would lay in bed upstairs under a handmade quilt safe and warm as laughter echoed up the stairway and I would fall asleep eager to wake up to the wonders of life on the farm. I never had one nightmare while I slept in Grandma's house.
My great aunt Vi , a lady who knew when to have a good laugh, would walk beside my grandma as elegant as ever and we would laugh about the time she was using the phone at Grandma's when my cousin Bob's pet squirrel got free and jumped into her hair! I can still see Aunt Vi as she ran around the room screaming and trying to bean that frightened squirrel with the phone! None was the worse for wear and did we all get a laugh out of this and Skippy Squirrel got a treat from Grandma to quiet his frayed nerves. Aunt Vi got a shot of whiskey!
My eighth grade history teacher Mr.Baumgardner would also be there this day. He told us that what he wanted us all to remember was to live our lives with honor and integrity and dignity and I have never forgotten this or him and I want to thank him for this lesson. He is a hero of mine.
My wonderful friend from high school, Denny, who was killed in Vietnam. Denny had a smile and kind word for everyone and he became the man of the house when his father died at an early age. All us girls were a little in love with Denny and I remember the winter day when I visited Washington D.C. and ran my fingers over his name on the Wall and cried for a life full of promise cut short in a rice paddy so far away from family and friends. I would tell Denny that I never forgot him. That I still miss him. And that I always loved him.
We would gather under the trees at my daughters house and eat and laugh and tell stories and hold hands under the stars. And I would ask all of them questions. "What is it like after we die? Can you see us who are left behind? Do you carry our love with you to the other side? Why are some lives so hard here on earth? "
When I started writing this I was thinking about my parents mostly but others came to mind and I could go on and on. I have loved so many people and so many people have loved me. So perhaps my life has not been that hard after all? Right now it feels pretty wonderful.