When I was about 10 years old, my father and I sat at the kitchen table and drew a family chart with a chewed and nubby old #2 pencil and a sheet of notebook paper. I still have that paper, yellowed and creased. It was the start of a life long hobby and one of the greatest gifts my father gave me.
I study the Allen family of Wake County, NC, the Davis family of Granville County, NC, the Stancil and Johnson families of Johnston County, NC and all their collateral lines.
Carl Donald Stancil and Ann Gladys Allen on their wedding day May 2, 1952 in Raleigh, NC
I'm thinking a lot about
my mom and dad these days. I think of them every day, but somehow each year
between February 2 and April 13, I think about them even more.
Daddy died on 2 Feb 1997
of a perforated intestine. Essentially, he had a hole in his gut. Normally,
these things are easily repaired, but he already had end stage heart and lung
disease, so he was placed in palliative care with a morphine drip and
allowed to pass peacefully and painlessly. He was 66 years old, just 10 years
older than I am now. He served in the US Marines
for over 20 years followed by another 20 years in civil service. So he gave.
More than most.
Mama died 10 weeks later
on 13 April 1997. She died of a broken heart, both literally and figuratively.
Although she could be a real pickle to live with, she loved my daddy with all
her heart. I'll never forget the look on her face when I told her daddy had
1958 in Hawaii
I recall the shock I felt at suddenly being an orphan, despite my age. BOTH of my parents were gone. It felt quick and sharp. I've never felt so alone. I recall a quote from John Kennedy, Jr that you don't really become an adult until both of your parents are gone. I didn't understand that before but I do now.
My parents are still with
me; in ways many might find...well, odd.
My mother stands in my kitchen and
talks to me when I'm cooking. She's often telling me what I'm doing wrong
<grin> and she's almost always standing in my way. But in spite of our mother/daughter
dynamics, I love that she is there.
Daddy often rides in the
car with me. He loved for me to drive him places. He'd sit in passenger seat
and say "now honey, slow down...". I have a lead foot and the driving
record to prove it. He'd often ask to stop for ice cream on the way home. The man loved his ice cream!
There's no doubt in my mind that my parents loved me with all they had. They gave me everything they had to give. I've done the same for my son.