Where were you on October 2, 1998?
You probably have no clue. If you racked your brain trying to remember, you probably would not be able to recall. But, if I asked you where you were on other significant days in history, chances are you’d probably not only recall where you were, but what you were doing and who you were with.
Where were you September 11th, 2001? Where were you when Kennedy got shot? Or, when Pearl Harbor got bombed? Some of you may recall where you were when Nixon resigned. Or, when John Lennon got shot. Or, when Elvis died.
These significant days in history act as markers on the timeline of our lives. Because they were so catastrophic and life altering, we can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing in that specific moment in time.
We can also recall our specific whereabouts in our times of personal crisis and joy. When a baby is born. When a loved one dies. When a best friend calls us up and tells us they are getting married.
October 2, 1998 – a significant day in my life.
You may not recall where you exactly were then, but I know exactly where I was. That was the day my Dad lost his battle with Cancer. I was with him. My Mom and one of my two Brothers were there, too. 16 years ago today. (That’s so hard to believe!!) I was sitting on the side of his bed holding his hand. It was the first time I was with someone when they took their last breath. It was the first time I held someones hand and felt them go completely still and feel their life end. It was surreal. And sad. And at the moment, something I could not wrap my brain around. Even tho I knew he was near the end of his life, nothing quite prepares you for that moment when your parent actually passes away. Breathing in life one moment – and in the next instance, complete stillness. Their soul moving towards Heaven. It was a powerful moment in my life and a precise moment on my personal timeline where I will always remember where I was and what I was doing.
I’ve lost both of my parents now. My Dad 16 years ago and my Mom more recently – just 8 months ago. February 14th – Valentines Day 2014. I did not have the privilege to be with her and tell her goodbye when her time to leave this earth arrived. But I’m confident that she knew exactly how I felt and how much I loved and respected her. I’m confident that she knew how much all of my siblings loved her.
While I’m still adjusting to life without my Mom, the old saying really is true – “Time Heals All Wounds.” You start to come out of the fog gradually and learn to smile and laugh again.
My Dad was Irish. He was hardworking and funny and sentimental. He liked sports, Notre Dame and beer. He passed his sense of humor and hard work ethic on to all of us. Thanks Dad!! When my brothers and sisters and I get together, all we have to do is say one word to each other or give each other one look that was his and we all start laughing. And we laugh long and hard. And we remember him with fondness and joy and with the sentimentality that he unknowingly passed on to all of us. Time heals all wounds.
We remember and speak of our personal experiences and that helps to keep those collective memories of history and personal tragedy and triumph vivid and fresh. And then, suddenly, 10 years have passed. Or, 20. Or, 50
I miss my Dad. Especially today. I miss my Mom, too. I will never quite get used to them being gone – or not being able to pick up the phone to talk to them. And, I’ll never get used to no longer being able to just get in the car to take a road trip to see them. But I am grateful for two such loving, selfless parents who showered me with unconditional love. I’m grateful for the memories of their laughter and smiles. And kindness.
When was YOUR October 2, 1998?? We all have them.
The good new is, Time Heals all Wounds.