bawling like a baby at midway airport is where we left off last week.
dad had just left mom for another woman after 34 years. if you’re new to the story, you’re going to want to get caught up here. do it quick...we’re moving on.
i’m going to fast forward a bit. my mom made some pretty key decisions during this time. and it was a hugely defining moment for her. i think most women who lost the love of their life and went through what she did may have not made the same decisions. hold on- step back. it’s important that you know she was hurt, confused and utterly shocked beyond belief. the love of her life, the man who took her to 8 different cities, saturday walks, late night talks – all that – left her. if that wasn’t enough, she went to the doctor for a routine exam and ended up being taken to the hospital for urgent angioplasty, because a valve in her heart was closing and if ignored, could have resulted in a heart attack. now this is a bad year.
back to the decisions
#1 she quit her casual drinking. the drinking you do with all your friends on the weekends. she needed to have a clear head about her and she just stopped and for quite a while. go mom.
#2 she didn’t take any bullshit from my dad concerning the divorce. she got her own lawyer and was advised by my wonderful aunt jean and uncle don.
#3 she decided it wasn’t important for her to live in the large house she had lived in with my dad. not wanting to make a hasty decision on where to live, she moved from southlake into a three bedroom apartment in euless, tx. where she stayed for 4 years.
#4 she started working more hours at the corporate offices at the bank in las colinas. she went from part time work to being the executive secretary to the president of the company & the director of human resources & the chief financial officer. really go mom! She was in her late 50’s at this point and never had to really work before. she wanted to keep busy and needed the extra funds.
#5 she found Jesus. and not because that’s what “sad” people do in Texas, but because she prayed for peace that surpasses understanding and He gave it to her. she sang in the church choir and loved every minute of it. mom joined a prayer group where they prayed for other people. she became her own person.
i love you mom for who you are and that you showed us that it was possible to have hope emerge from total sadness.
but, back to me. after all. this is all about me.
just kidding. not really. although i tried to cut communication off with my dad, it came down to just him just sending me letters. he sent articles and advice. i couldn’t deal with the hurt and betrayal. i was 32 years old and single. (thankfully, i didn’t also have a stock pile of cats too.) i think i was a bit affected… you think i wanted to get married just to have the guy leave me after 5, 10 or…34 years? no thanks. plus he wasn’t the man i thought he was to begin with – my dad would never, ever do something like that. so i just threw myself into work. i was so mad at him i actually took a job with FORD. for those of you who knew mr. general motors – you know how happy he was about that decision.
let’s really fast forward: i moved from chicago to dallas after 9/11, realizing that i wanted to be closer to my family. i had also become a christian and just really needed a fresh start. the move was not easy to say the least, i started talking to my dad but made it clear i wanted nothing to do with the woman for which he left my mom. on my sister’s 30th birthday he announced that he was getting married and moving to our childhood vacation place of hilton head island. now they may have moved down there first i don’t remember all the timing . fantastic! it was one crushing blow after another. do people really have no clue of their impact on other people for crying out loud? still on fast forward…. all of a sudden he wanted to start spending Christmas with our family. not just us kids – mom too. his wife (karen) had family in texas so during the holiday they came back here and my dad had the cahonees to ask if he could spend christmas eve with us. here’s a little side story…
christmas eve night service, whites chapel church, mom in the choir, my brother, sister, me and …dad in row 2 of the church. mom comes out in the choir holding a candle and we all light our candles. it’s dark, it’s christmas and for the first time in a couple years my whole family was together. i was crying so that no one knew i was crying where you just let the tears roll right down the side of your face but when i turn, i see i wasn’t alone.
flash forward a year.
or something like that. i’m driving down lemmon avenue in dallas. dad calls and asks that i call him back with katie on the phone. i ask him why and he asks me to please call him back. great – another piece of big news. get to my apartment, throw my keys on the counter, kiss wrigley the 110lb yellow lab and grab katie. we call dad on speaker.
he tells us that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, has a tumor the size of a football in his abdomen has about 4 months to live and is coming back to texas in two weeks to be with us.