It feels a bit like cheating. But, some words are worth repeating.
I woke up this morning thinking about this exact post and knew it was worth re-posting. For those of you out there whose hearts are tender – to the new readers to my blog since I last ran this piece, I dedicate this to you.
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 dates 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 20 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.
17 thoughts on “Where Were You On October 2, 1998?”
Grace and peace to you on this tough day. Losing someone special is never easy. Hang in there my friend.
Margaret, also the name of my Mother, who is still with me, who’s ethnicity is Sicilian, my father, also still with me, who’s ethnicity is Arabic. I’m in the process of losing my in-laws – Rusk and Betty, in their 90’s. This story hits home on many levels. Giving thanks for your very loving account of memories, and may you and your siblings laugh aloud today. Thank you Margaret. ~ Anita
The preacher’s son and the farmer’s daughter. Someday I’ll write a story or two about them. Dad tested his minister father’s patience. His mom forgave his bad decisions and as the only son, missed him when he moved his small family a thousand miles away. Mom left the farm as soon as she had her high school diploma and never pined for the smells or the grime. She had the preacher’s son on her mind.
I was a thousand miles away when Dad died but held Mom’s hand when she joined him.
Reblogged this on NC Trees Photography and commented:
Many thoughts. See comments. Wonderful post on parents, memories, death and laughter.
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A kindly loving remembrance. Thank you
A nice and thoughtful remembrance! Thank you. Let me pass along the musical version, Trisha Yearwood’s “The Song Remembers When”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AygRmWnow1w
Beautiful and touching post. Thanks for sharing.
A beautiful post. Gentle blessings to you.
Nicely composed piece, Peg. I don’t think you ever stop thinking about loved ones who have passed, but the ache does lessen, I find. I lost both parents as a young adult, so I have lived longer without them than I ever did with them. I sometimes wonder what they would think of this or that, but they are more like faded photos than real to me at this point. It is interesting how they live on in me and my siblings in look or mannerisms. The cycle spins on.
Blessings to you.
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Lovely… and heartwrenching too. I’m sorry for your loss. Grief shows up at the most unexpected times. I know where I was just 15 days later because one of my dear, dear friends died of cancer on Oct 17, 1998. You never forget, but it’s always nice to remember. ..
Dad passed june 21, 2010 on their 50th wedding anniversary and the day after father’s day. Mom passed April 13, 2013 with my sister and I on either side holding her hands as she finally found rest from a long struggle. Thank you for your story. We are both ‘orphaned’ as adults but thankfully not alone. -KIA
I’m sorry for your loss.
My date is September 12, 2005: I confirmed my husband’s affair.
Thank you for putting every single day in perspective.
Aww, that stinks. 😦 The dirty bastard.
Margaret, I’m so glad you liked my Mitchell School providing a way to find you. Love your writings.
Thank you for the LIKE I am in Virginia, USA.
From where are you writing?
My day is October fourth 20014
We watched him helplessly rattle his way out of our world, we selfishly cried our good byes and wiped our eyes. And every day I miss my dad every day I want to make him smile and every day I love him. His wife and his four girls, his grandchildren and great grandchildren they all miss him on different days in different ways. I know I am not alone but when I pick up the phone …
My day is so close, My tears sting my eyes and a warm hard lump is lodged in my throat as I write this. Really my day should be a happy one as his pain has gone. But I am selfish and need to cry for me and my dad.
But I know I am lucky because I was allowed to k ow him, where thousands didn’t. Thank you.