Seasons change into autumnal gray smudged across the sky. Time spits sand in this hour glass and I temper patience against the backdrop of the wait-and-see game. I find myself etching my parents’ faces into my brain matter, never certain when the last time I can study their forms. We add my father’s heart problems to my mother’s cancer and this daughter is stunned by how human nature shakes in the uncertainty. I have no control over these days, I am simply a witness to my parents own journey. I feel no sense of injustice by G-d, though I find my words curl into prayers for more time for them, for us, for the grace of a good life. I am not ready to add their memory to the blue sky with my grandmother. Then I remind myself, we are not there yet, even if time has a way of fading the skin into wrinkles of memory aging the body. Chemo is a rough game on the body. It’s a shitty way to bargain for more time with life. It burns the body for the sake of salvation. My father’s heart is connected to my mother. I fear if his stress doesn’t decrease, he’ll not make it through these times, but how do you ask his heart to beat any different? I worry he will die of a broken heart if she dies and I am not ready for Romeo and Juliet to head out to their constellation in the sky.
I knew my parents in their 20s. I grew up in their youth. I came along 5 ½ years after they met each other. It’s weird to look at them this way. They definitely grew up while raising us kids – two lovers not only negotiating each other, but three kids who definitely demanded their time. That’s the nature of being parents. I remember their love. There is sacredness in love for me because of them. I’m not saying they were perfect. I’ll get into the other part of this story later. The two of them did have something between them that is so rare in this world. Love growing in two, shared together. They choose honesty and communication. Most people I know did not have parents who remained lovers their entire career as partners. Thirty-nine years of being lover and friends and still counting. There is a vulnerability there that forms a gem so rare, I dare say I am afraid when they go, I’ll know no one who has achieved such a grace. They taught me love is a verb with specific actions that quantify it. I have yet to find someone who understands this math. Too many people play mind games with love and wind up shitting on the concept all together, but I’ll get into that part of this story another time.
My parents were never the cliché of submissive wife and player husband fucking mistresses or shit talking to their friends about the other. They had periods of drought between passion rekindled, as if they were able to keep the embers hot buried under the ashy layers of living and knowing each other for so long. They never assumed they knew everything about each other or that love was safest in the stagnant routine. Or maybe this daughter on the outside idealizes their love. I am impressed though that even today, they tell me how much they love each other. They speak of sacrifice in marriage as a byproduct of gaining something greater. I’m impressed by them.
Today, I am thinking on my parents and their love sending prayer to that ancestral sky to guide them safely. This whole cancer thing is rough. I watch two lover and friends grow weary from the experience. They are my parents which compound the feelings in it all. I know I keep joy alive, keep living life like a celebration, and avoid making G-d accountable as if that ever worked. It’s weird though to feel like an adult and a child all at the same time. Family has a way of regressing the soul and I’d give anything to transport back to four-years-old being held strong in my father’s arm late one night, feeling absolutely held and safe while my mother enters the living room saying to my father, “Chuck, you can’t watch Jaws! What if she gets nightmares?” I dreamt that night of sharks playing like dolphins commanded to do so by my Mother.