After watching the movie, “Nebraska,” I was thinking about the shift that we all must make at some point in our lives. That point where we realize we must become adults and accept our parents’ aging. It’s a shift that can happen in an instant or over years. The movie reminded me of the gains and losses that come with the switching of roles of parents and children.
With my father, it happened in an instant. It was in the fall of 1995 on a crisp, late October day. I had gone to visit him and my mother in their apartment. We had our usual Wednesday lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, home-canned peaches, and fresh homemade cookies. I had my youngest daughter with me who had just turned three. My dad walked us out to the car, and I buckled Jill into her carseat. In the next few minutes as we stood by the car, I took the opportunity to really look into my dad’s blue-gray eyes and thank him for all the love and kindness he had given me. I thanked him for supporting me in my dreams and in my realities, for loving my sons and daughters, for teaching us of goodness. My eyes filled with tears. The moment felt important, significant. Little did I know then that in two weeks he would have a heart attack and pass from this earth.
I have always been grateful that we had those few minutes in the parking lot. So much more was exchanged than words.