We've faced a lot of transitions in those 16 years; most recently, on October 1, we lost Dad.
In doing the preparations and making arrangements, I had a thought. Keith at the funeral home (and thanks to both him and Jim at Burns' things were put together well) asked about Dad's middle name. While Mom explained he didn't have one, I started to think about how awesome that is. I'd like to think that was deliberate on Viola and Henry's part, but I doubt it was. The space between his given name, Earl, and his family name, Rodgers may have been what allowed him to define and redefine himself over his lifetime. He certainly was a lot of things to me and I know he was a lot of things to other people in his life.
Dad reached a lot of his goals; about a year ago, he expressed satisfaction at achieving one of those goals--the family farm was free and clear. He wasn't a doomsdayer, but he thoroughly believed that there should be a place where we could all go if we needed to and not worry about things. While I'm happy about this and glad that he saw the goal achieved, it is angering to an extent. I know none of us will be here forever, but it is especially sad to me that after so many years where work kept him and Mom apart that he's not there to enjoy the fruits of his labor anymore.
Ironically, it was probably the military service of 20 years that allowed for a lot of those goals. The same military service gave him lymphoma which took him away from us again. We got him back for a short time, but then it came back with a ferocity that even he couldn't counter.
As angry as I am, I know that my own transition right now is nothing compared to that which my mother is going through and that it pales greatly to what Renee is going through, and what Ben is going through. I'm so glad that they had Dad in their daily lives, but can only imagine the gaping space that is there right now. While I know tears can't fill that space, I know that plenty are being shed.