If you still have both your parents, enjoy them but my Maine Mom and Dad are now in my memory and heart only.
I miss them being here on Earth. But they both prepared the four boys in their family for the acceptance of death as a part of life. I still feel their presence, the life lessons and values they both worked hard to instill in their boys.
When you live geographically close to your parents, and your kids, their grandchildren see them nearly daily, their absence hits deeper.
Their passing is noticed more than when once, twice if you are lucky the same parents get together with their grown kids now moved many states away. I think that is the way it goes for many. Because of more local involvement in your day to day life as the family grows older together.
Sharing Maine holidays that come and go. School plays, sports games and graduation to the next life level happens with a blur. Right on schedule. The parents are around for it all, you do lots together. Whether attending a Maine church supper where the food is always like the best world class five star dining establishment. Being there with them as parts wear out, the other end of age plays out. Life’s tail end involving flights of stairs up and down during brief stays at a local Maine hospital.
But no nursing homes, no prolong life ending illnesses or conditions for either for which the four boys are very grateful.
And so much rich experiences, adventures really that the pair took, exposed their family to together. With love, care and attention. It’s not their death that glorifies or history that makes them bigger than life. It’s simple love, kindness, care and attention as their kids, grandchildren were taught practical life lessons.
Healthy ways to look at situations we find ourselves in. How it is not about just us. But to always consider, factor in others. The greater good of many and not just ourselves to take care of, please. To have a life with purpose, to contribute to your local community for the sheer joy of helping out, pitching in. But most importantly, how to be happy, content, grateful.
No one likes a lazy whiner.
Hanging around the water cooler attitudes, complaining when you have work to do. To get yourself out of the mud you put yourself in. Responsibility for your role in difficult situations. Relationships that are delicate and that family is everything drilled in to us as a given. Not a choice. It all meant respect for others, their opinions. And extreme care to maintain delicate family relationships so damage was avoided, to side step the need for repair process altogether.
In settling the last to go, Mom’s estate, nothing hit me harder, deeper of her sense of family then sorting through what lay in her antique, open front writing desk.
Every woman now in her 80’s seems to own one.
In my travels as a Maine real estate broker, I see them in every living room or den. Carbon copy solid pieces of furniture. And inside are the contents of the family journey. Tucked away in special pull out compartments for safe keeping.
Report cards of myself, my brothers and all the rest of the memorabilia of growing up appear as the desk lid is opened, lowered. Newspaper clippings yellowing but scissored out because one of us was mentioned, or the center of the local story. Loose green stamps that were waiting, collected for the next book used to help buy sporting goods, camping gear. Awards, certificates, a Bible, yarn for mittens and scarves, all safely stored inside that writing desk that had a lock. But never was.
Like a family time capsule, recording we all really lived here on Earth, raised on a Maine potato farm where the entire family worked. Plenty of Maine land with lots of trailer trucks out back behind the barn to haul the spuds to market. Black and white pictures capturing it all. Carefully labeled on the back to pass on who this is and where it was taken. For the next generation. Merry Christmas Mom, Dad, family and friends.