I spent part of the weekend with my mom, who is still so raw and unhinged by my father’s passing in May. I kept trying to be that convivial figure I think she needs– trying to rouse her out of bed, trying to remind her that my dad must at least be free of pain right now- and that he wouldn’t want her to be so mired in sadness. I kept asking her questions– to help her remember the good parts, those moments she shared with my dad- and how lucky and privileged she was to even have that time and that she can always revel in that love, even if he’s not physically here.
My mother is unable to move forward, and all she could continue to say to me was that I didn’t understand. That the moments that are most precious to her, the moments she wants back so desperately are just those where she and my dad were sitting in their bedroom, he is his chair and she next to him and they were just watching a television show together. She says she wished she would’ve allowed those moments to linger even longer. She says she wishes she could take back the little things that she griped about, which now seem so insignificant, and how she would give anything to just be able to hold my father’s hand again.
My mother says she and my father had that bedroom, and as they got older and my father’s health worsened, in it they shared this small slice of life– which had its own lovely rhythm. They spent the better part of their time in that room- talking, laughing and yes arguing. They reminded each other to take their pills, they rubbed each other’s feet and they reminisced about a lifetime of love, heartache and so many small and big decisions they made as a united front. It was the two of them, from the age of 15 and 21– against the world.
Listening to my mother and that yearning in her voice, to just be able to sit in that room with her beloved, my dad, makes me so much more cognizant of my own marriage and the choices I’m making everyday. I’m trying to savor those everyday moments, and not think too much about the big picture or try to control that which is not able to be manipulated.
So as Valentine’s creeps up on us, I am telling my husband I have no expectations, all I want is his love and to live in the moment of our relationship. Oh, but if he feels so inclined to write me a long love letter recounting all the ways our love enriches his life– I’ll take it- but mostly on Valentine’s Day, I’ll be happy just to sit next to him and hold his hand.