I brought Mom over to my place this afternoon and made us dinner. It was just grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s tomato soup, but she really enjoyed it and remarked on how nice it was to have a home cooked meal. Out of the blue, she looked at me across the table and said “Do you sometimes forget what it was like having Mike around?”
“Yes,” I said.
“I can’t remember what it was like living with your father either,” she said. “I remember him, of course, but the feeling of having him around… that’s gone.”
I nodded. “When I think about it, I can remember what it was like living with Mike — but it feels like something that happened a long time ago, in another life.”
We talked about how long it’s been since we lost our husbands — three and a half years for me, going on six years for her — and then she told me that she was tired and didn’t want to stay much longer. As soon as we’d finished our soup and the dishwasher was loaded, I drove her back to the assisted living community. Every time I bring her to my place to spend time together, she wants to leave right after dinner. I’ve been wondering why that is — she never goes to bed before 9:30 or 10:00, and she can always lie down on my bed if she’s tired. One of the blessings of our comfortable relationship is that we don’t always have to be talking or doing something together, it’s just nice to have the company even in silence. But maybe it’s not about being tired. Maybe she wants to get back to her familiar room with the comfortable chairs she and Dad bought for their house, where his picture smiles at her from the wall above the bed.
In the car driving home, the tears came.