I woke up this morning at 5:30 aware I was on the cusp of two days: March 31 and April 1. The end of one fiscal quarter, the start of the next. Reflection and anticipation. Death and birth.
Sometimes events sit alongside each other on a calendar, out of order and seemingly unrelated. Like where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet.
My dad died 5 years ago on March 31, in the morning. He’d suffered. Not just in the hospital, but over a few years with cancer. He couldn’t eat. Just Ensure. His fate was cruel.
It’s a date on the calendar, March 31. A time for forced reflection and appreciation for The Old Man.
But when you think of the hard times The Old Man had, well, it’s daisy-chained to the memories of my mom’s death 38 years before that. For me, my mom’s breast cancer and pain overlapped with my first year in college, which felt like a year of sleepaway camp. A place for the golden boy to get out of Dodge.
People think of my mom’s death as a tough 3 weeks in the hospital, watching her degrade day by day. But my mom’s pains spanned my high school career, alternating with her bright face at my track meets and in waiting rooms for radiation.
I got my closure when we buried Pop at the cemetery. Of course, it was raining. Of course. With the grave opened, you couldn’t not look – could I see Mom’s coffin? But I felt relief in the warm rain. My mom and dad were together again. For good. That was very comforting.
This morning, while I walked one dog — in the rain — to get 5:45 a.m. Starbucks, I shifted to thinking about April 1 – our wedding anniversary. Twenty-two years ago this morning, I was up early (5:45 a.m.) in a Baltimore hotel, nervous as a cat with excitement. I was so looking forward to a love I hadn’t expected and was sure I didn’t deserve. I was so excited when my wife actually showed up! It was really happening.
The day was a blessing. In New York, the Yankees’ home opener was snowed out. But in Baltimore, we had a gorgeous day and were married outdoors. There was so much drama that weekend; we ignored it. Our parents were supportive and reliable (!) throughout the weekend. We were so thankful. Still are.
One of the photo frames we received with our wedding pictures had a saying: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Um, yeah.
We have weathered a lot during this marriage, but the problems we endured had nothing to do with Us. Ours is a life of perpetual interruption. We don’t always agree, but we are aligned; we are together. Wrap your arms around the kids, the dogs, and each other and work your way through the howling winds and weather. We’ve seen worse and, so happily, we have each other.
We have a beautiful home, USB ports in the couch, a fireplace w/ a remote, and a hot tub in the backyard. Two healthy kids and two good cars out front. Good luck to us!
I’m so sorry Pop suffered. I’m so glad he didn’t die on our wedding anniversary date. I’m so glad Ang/I have April Fool’s Day to ourselves.
OK, everybody. Let’s start the day. Get to work!