Those of us who have lost someone we love know that there are times when missing them is like wearing a giant lead hat. It’s so bad sometimes that you just feel like if you think about it hard enough, you can change the reality of things.
I’ve lost three people I truly loved. Losing one’s parents is a normal part of life. Luckily, I have my own little family, and really, it’s natural for parents to go on before us. I believe they are somewhere else, they are whole and things are good for them. Seven years after the fact, I’m in a great place and really just miss them in that hard, hurtful way only once in a while. Mostly I remember their funny sayings and all the happiness we had. We really did have a great life together.
That’s why what happened to me last week was so WEIRD. I’m not a superstitious person, nor am I experiencing any particular longing for my parents. I haven’t been thinking about them much, life is busy and I am darn happy with my life, except for the misery of winter.
Thursday, I was at the doctor. I walked down the hall to use the loo and I went through a giant cloud of Oscar de la Renta perfume. My mother smelled so strongly of this that it was sometimes hard to share the oxygen in a car with her. Her clothes, fur coat and things that I kept still reek of it. So, I figured there would be some nice little old lady that was nearby and I just breathed in and smiled. No, no one was in the hall. No one in the loo. No one ANYWHERE. So odd, just ghostly silence.
I then went down the street to the grocery store. Not my grocery store, but Ingles, which is bad enough in itself, but I was meeting The Boy for a sports physical nearby. When, out of the corner of my eye, I spied my dad. Really. My brain went “oh, there’s Dad”, because, before he died, we would often run into each other at the store. It took a minute for my brain to catch up and realize it couldn’t be him. I looked more closely and darn it, it was him. I whipped my bascart (allow me to say here that words such as bascart, communiversity, fantabulous, guesstimate and craisin make me cringe. These are not real words. I do, however, like “cremains” for some reason. As in, “we picked up Memaw’s cremains from the funeral home”.) anyhow, I whipped my buggy around and followed him. Same Member’s Only jacket, same pants, same black shoes, same gray hair and hair cut. Same walk, same time spent gazing at the ice cream section. I stalked this man. I mean I stalked the living hell out of him. I followed him when he went to the bathroom, I watched him up and down each and every isle and managed to get just ahead of him in line. I’ll have to admit that I was all teared up and sniffy by then. I ran to my car and I waited for him in the parking lot, snapping pictures surreptitiously all the way. I am ridiculously inept with my phone and the pictures are all fuzzy but I was able to convince my family that I am not crazy. I have never seen such a “dead ringer” (yes, I know this is terrible humor, but fitting) for my dad. I have noted his car, surprisingly, a red Corvette, and tag number and next time I’m going to work up the nerve to just hug him. You might read of this in the crime scene blog in the county paper. Middle aged woman in cute sweater molests older man in the dairy isle.
That night, I dreamed that I received a check from my dad, with a long letter, but in the dream, I couldn’t read the letter because it was too dark. When I awoke, I had a call from my parent’s good friend, telling me of a possible problem with their estate that I needed to look into. How weird is that? Are they still looking out for me? Last year, I got a small dividend check from my mother on my birthday. Of all the days of the year, it came then. Just enough to cover a big extravagant lunch where I wished she were there.
Do I believe my sweet parents are trying to tell me something? Do I think they’re still watching out for me? In some ways, I hope so. I always feel their love and approval, just like when they were here. In others, I hope they don’t see me in my grouchy moments, or my angry ones. I surely hope they don’t hear my language when I’m driving! I hope my mom doesn’t know that I sometimes wear jeans to church and tipple a little bit. I do hope they see how wonderful their grandchildren are. My mother would be so proud she would brag her friends’ ears off. Cricket would be despised by Baptist women everywhere just from conversation oversaturation. My dad would love to see The Boy playing lacrosse. He was still just a little baseball player when he left and he would be baffled by the game but so proud of The Boy, who would now be taller than his Grandy.
Maybe it’s just a big ol’ bunch of coincidences, most likely it is. It sure was a discombobulating 24 hours though. Maybe we get these little love notes from them when we most need them, even if we think we’re going along fine on our own. This morning, I turned on Pandora radio to the opera station and there was my mother’s favorite song, that she played relentlessly on both the piano and violin. I just laughed and said thanks.