There have been a few conversations that I wished I could have with Mom and Dad. Another hard aspect of death is the conversations that will never take place because death is final. This is a post I need to get off my chest.
“Death is a debt we all must pay.“
The family German Shorthair Pointer
When I was graduating from college in Montana in 1997 my Mom made a comment that I didn’t fully understand at the time. In the wake of her death I now very much do. Mom said that she wished her Mom, which is my grandmother could see my graduation. My Mom later told me how much she missed her Mom and especially all the conversations she wish she could have but will not have.
As I process my parents deaths in 2017 and 2018 I am realizing that one of the difficult things is the conversations that will never happen. Life is interesting as it throws curves and you also experience interesting or joy filled events. There are things that have happened since my parents deaths that I wish I could ask and discuss with them. Let me give you a couple of examples.
- My Dad practiced medicine all his life. He admired Jonas Salk who found the polio vaccine and spoke warmly of him and his contributions to modern medicine and science. When my Dad died in 2018 no one knew what COVID-19 is as it did not exist. Or its role in the first global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu. Yesterday I was reading about the vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer and I thought to myself how neat it would be to have that conversation with my Dad and ask him. Why do you think about the vaccines? How do you look at it through your medical training? Did you ever think a vaccine could be found so quickly? On and on I could go especially as I keep up with current events. But I was thinking of how this conversation with Dad will never happen.
- Tonight I was kicking back on the couch and I saw a fascinating documentary that looked at Chicago and Lake Michigan. Mom loved Chicago as she loved her hometown. In the documentary I learned some interesting information about the Navy Pier and early Chicago history. I find myself thinking how it would have been neat to ask my Mom on her impressions and recollections based off what I learned. Mom talked about everything in Chicago. Her night shift with International Harvester. Riding the L. Going to Marshall Fields in downtown, and so much more.
As this issue dawns upon me I am realizing the conversations that I wish I could have. When my parents died we were at peace. I loved then. Tried to be a devoted son. And was by their bedside during their time of need. I have no regrets in that context. No burned bridges or unresolved issues to deal with. And for that I am deeply grateful. But as each day turns into the next its these conversations that I will never have which are difficult. Now I know what my Mom was telling me in 1997. Twenty three years later before I realized something brand new. Even in death its like Mom is teaching me still. I view all this as part of the grieving process. As time passes my love for my parents grows deeper. It becomes stronger. And its still hard to not be able to tell them that as well. Death is hard to face. Indeed it is as I keep learning about as time marches on. This is something that I needed to get off my chest.