She and I were the church goers of the family, so after 11:30 Mass, Dave and I met back at my parents house. My father and brother were kind enough to let the three of us have time alone.
It had been hard to tell that morning if she was conscious or not, and if so what she was wanting to say. It’s been more than six years, so it could be that I just don’t want to remember trying to understand what she was trying to communicate. I do remember the odd feeling of watching her eyes be open, and seeing that sometimes they were in focus with us, and much of the rest of the time she had clearly gone somewhere else.
So. Earlier in church, Dave and I had a, is “nice” the word? Yes. We had a nice time together in Mass despite our grief and frustration as we waited to let her go. I’d been staying at his house. Always the positive one, he smiled as we split up to meet back at my parents house as if we were meeting at the ice cream place for a frozen custard in a bit.
Oh my goodness, I’d forgotten something until this very moment! We also had his two grown sons and my three-year old boy in the pew with us. For some odd reason my Joe had been still and entertained with Dave’s effort to draw a train. I’d forgotten that!
I also have remembered more than once what a comfort it was to sit next to Dave’s son Dan – once a baby I rocked to sleep, that day his smile looked down from well over six feet.
In any case, when Dave arrived to visit my mother and I, she went from seemingly unconscious to greeting him with full focus and saying “David!” in exactly the same deep voice that she’d ever greeted him before.
One of the blessings of grief is that over time, though it never, ever get’s “easier,” it changes. This many years later, as I write from miles away from each of the characters of this memory, I can honestly say, it’s okay.
Well, not perfectly. I’m homesick for each and every one in this memory – Dave is still in Pennsylvania where we once all lived, my father now lives in Florida, I’ve moved to Iowa and Dan is living a stones throw from our hometown in Southern Ohio where my family just moved from.
(Joe’s in bed right over there though, both dogs well tucked under his arms.)
Perhaps it’s not too soon to plan for a raspberry frozen custard at Hank’s when we meet up in the keystone state next summer.