They do this, kids. They start out making you weak at the knees with the love you feel for them -- their tiny little fingers and sweet-smelling heads -- and then push you to the brink of homicide after a few short years of incessantly asking, "Why?" and "Why not?"
Their Pop is the one they saw last month, the last time they saw him. The Pop that was not feeling well that day. The Pop that slept most of the day, but still managed to get up and spend some time with them.
I laid there in the dark for a moment, almost upset that I'd read it. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to be there for this -- the end. I didn't want to see my dad like that. I didn't want to do any of this.
To be there with my mother at this sacred time of her life, was the greatest gift I have ever received. We -- her family -- were her ushers. Taking her hand and escorting her from this world to the next.
This week, our beloved Gray's in Greenwich officially closed. To think of it shuttered makes me a little sad to say the least. It wasn't that they had the best hot dogs, it was that Gray's was a part of people's lives for a very long time.
In my years of working with grieving clients, I have all too frequently heard grievers lament "Why didn't we ever talk about death when she was alive?" "I wish we had been able to say goodbye." On the other hand, seldom have I heard regrets from people who did have the conversation.
I'm on a road trip with my son, Adam. We're driving 1,265 miles over four days, from California, where he's lived his whole life, to New Mexico, where he'll live for the next four years while he attends college.
My aunt is nearly 99. She will not live to be 100. Her photo will not be on the television recalling the date of her birth, with Willard Scott announcing she likes the opera and still volunteers. She will no longer volunteer. There will be no Today for her then.
Well, let me tell you, if you've never owned a pet before you'd be surprised. Disgusting becomes endearing. Sloppy face baths become "kisses." And the annoyances... ok, they're still annoying. But there's one thing you always get: completely unconditional love.