It will be 5 years this coming August since my mother died, and 7 years this coming November since I lost my father.
I consider myself to have reached the point where I am somewhat healed. I still feel the usual heartache around things like holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, but the hurt is no longer constant, and when it does turn up it is more often than not tempered by happy memories. I speak of my parents proudly and lovingly when other people talk about their families, and I can usually do it without tearing up, but every once in a while I can still bawl like it happened yesterday.
Today was one of those days.
A few months ago we got a Wii and a Wii Fit to help get in better shape, and, after some reflection, I programmed Miis to represent my parents into the system. Some people will doubtless find this odd, but our family has always had a healthy sense of humour, and I know Mom and Dad would have been amused by the idea of their avatars joining me in my games and fitness activities.
It worked out well. I would do step classes with my parents on either side of me, I would go on jogs and see my mother running by, or get passed by my father who used to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and feel comforted to know he was in a place where I believe he feels no pain and has recovered all the vigour and stamina of his youth.
But today it didn't work so well. I was doing Basic Step and suddenly I burst into uncontrollable sobbing and had to stop and sit down as I suddenly realized that this interaction and my memories was all I had left, and my mind and heart rebelled at the idea of how little time it turned out I was allowed to have with them.
Ten years after I graduated high school, they were both gone.
Five years after I got married, they were both gone.
I am coming up on my tenth wedding anniversary, and while the occasion is joyous it is also tempered by the pain of realizing that back then I didn't have any idea just how fast time was running out. I barely talked with them at all during the first few months of my marriage because I was so enthralled with my new husband and the grown up life I was leading. I only had them over for dinner once (we tended to have family dinners at my sister's house because she had more room) because I was embarrassed about being too busy to keep the apartment clean.
To say nothing of the fact that any children I may have will never know their maternal grandparents except through what I tell them.
I don't really know where I'm going with this post, except to say that it surprises me how badly it can still hurt sometimes, but even though it hurts I am not going to forget them. I'm not going to stop finding ways of celebrating my love for them in my daily life. I am going to hold on to what I have left with both hands, because even though that little bit is not enough, it is a part of them, and that makes it worth the pain.