One of the things I’ve learned as a writer in this social media world is that the title of your blog should always tell the reader what they’re in for. Y’all, you have no idea. But I so truly feel today that I hit the biggest lottery in the world and was totally ignorant about the victory until I lost the ticket.
My dad was sick for a long time, and when the end came, he was in hospice. People came in and out to see him, and through much of it, I waited in the small waiting room across the hall from his room. I wanted all of the people that knew him had a chance to say their goodbyes, but it gave me the unique opportunity to hear their conversations as they went in and out of his room. People loved my dad. He was well respected, would be desperately missed by more than just us, and I heard time and again as friends and family drifted in and out of that room what a great man my dad was.
The same types of conversations were had at his funeral. People approached me and talked about what a great man my dad was. When you’re a kid, you always think you’re dad is a great man, but hearing how much he impacted the lives of others gave me a whole new perspective on just what an incredible guy he was.
My mom’s passing was much more unexpected than my dad’s. Because she was on life support, there really wasn’t an opportunity for anyone to go in and tell her goodbye. On her last day, when they roused her enough for us to talk to her, we were able to tell her how much we loved her, but the same opportunity wasn’t afforded to any of her friends.
She didn’t want a funeral. My mom felt like she would be saving us the pain of having to greet people at a time I think she believed should be private. But this afternoon, I had a chance to be around people my mom worked with. “She was good people.” “You’re mom was awesome.” “Anna was the best.” They couldn’t say enough good things about her. My mom was loved, respected by the people she supervised, and as one of her coworkers told me through his tears, she was an amazing and incredible friend.
I loved my parents. I knew we were lucky to have them, but I didn’t know how lucky we were. It was both a moment of tremendous pride and incredible sadness to hear how beloved my mom and dad were to those people I didn’t know very well.
I wish I’d found that lottery ticket. I had a treasure way greater than I ever imagined.