“True love stories never have endings.” – Richard Bach
“That’s what heaven is. You get to make sense of your yesterdays.” – Mitch Albom
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” – Robert Frost
September 19 marks a big day for my family. On Thursday, our parents – my sister’s and mine – would have been married 60 years.
That’s a long time.
Sadly, our mother won’t be here to mark the anniversary. She died in 2011.
But I have no doubt our dad will think about my mother and their life together, at least for a moment or two on their diamond anniversary.
They met while Dad was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Ariz., and Mama was a student at Arizona State University.
I love the story told many times in years past, usually in tandem, of their meeting.
Here it is, in a nutshell: Dad and a couple of his flying friends were having a few beers at a local bar, hopeful they’d get lucky and meet some members of the opposite gender.
A waitress named Alice, who just happened to be my mother’s best friend’s ex-sister-in-law, invited the three young pilots to her house so they could meet “some nice girls” from the university. One of that trio of nice girls was my mother.
“How did you get paired up with Dad?” I asked her this on more than one telling of this tale.
“I paired myself off with him immeditely,” she told me every time. “It was the most brave I’ve ever been in my life – and look where it got me.”
Because my sister and I have missed our mother terribly since her death, I find it difficult to even begin to imagine how it’s been for her life partner. We don’t talk about it that much.
I have my own ideas, my own hopes about what heaven might be. They are not based on any deep theological digging, just my heart.
I’d like to believe my mother, an artist, spends some time each day painting masterpieces. I’d like to believe she also gets to play the most gloriously tuned piano ever and sing the Broadway showtunes she loved most.
I’d like to think she spends part of each day peering through the clouds at those of us she loved best, still plodding along here on this good earth.
I know she’d be pleased and proud to see Dad finally cleaned off the dining room table, although he still uses one end as a catch-all. She’d also love that he has continued to grow beautiful flowers on the back deck.
She’d be happy to see Dad has a new four-legged furry companion after losing Max back in the spring. Max, a Golden retriever, was a gift from my sister and me to our parents on their golden anniversary a decade ago. Jake, the new pup, is a Golden mix from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society. Mama would have loved him as much as she loved Max.
After spending nearly 60 years together, I’m sure she must miss Dad as he certainly misses her.
I’d expect nothing less.
Happy anniversary, Dad.