Saturday, August 2, 2008

Soft and Sad Eyes


It is 3:02 Saturday morning as I begin to type this....I woke up to use the restroom (I do that most evenings) and I could not fall back asleep (I do not do this most evenings).
My insomnia has not returned (hopefully) although I am feeling so worried about my parents it might just resurface...here's hoping that getting this off of my chest will do the trick and the insomnia will stay far away! My eyes are soft looking at these people (my parents) in this precious photo....my eyes are also swollen and moist from the tears I love to shed. No, nothing majorly earth-shattering has happened, but I am mourning to say the least.
I had a conversation with my father earlier this evening, which left him unable to continue talking to me for the moment; he had to pass the phone to my mother, saying, "You talk to her; I just can't..." while he lost the cool control of himself that he always has. This left me sobbing. My father is a proud, strong, and wonderful man...I do not remember a time when he has ever lost his emotional control. I just can not emphasize enough how much I love this man and my mother...I have always said that I could not have chosen better parents if given the choice and that I have been blessed beyond measure in them. Everyone deserves parents like mine! The main point of this conversation that rendered my father unable to continue talking to me was the state of my parent's finances, and a meeting that they had with a financial advisor.
First, you have to know that before he retired, my father was a banker. He worked himself up from being a teller to a Vice-President of the bank he worked for his entire adult life. He is a wiz with numbers (I did NOT inherit this!) and he always prided himself in making sound financial investments and decisions. As a banker, he planned well for his retirement, and they have been living quite comfortably for the last twelve years. They own two houses- one they live in, one they vacation in and rent out; they have a lovely, well-maintained pool and yard (my parents both so enjoy working in this yard, taking amazing care of it by themselves); they own several deeds with a vacation resort company (it's how we travel so often to the beaches and such); they are also quite genereous with their children and practically anyone else that needs help.
After the meeting with this financial advisor, basically this man told my parents that they are going to have to sell pretty much everything, move into a much smaller house, cash in a huge insurance policy (what they were planning to leave my brothers and myself as our inheritance) and drastically reduce the amount of money that they live off of each month...my father's retirement is simply running out. The economy has reeked havoc on his investments...He went into the meeting thinking he had a good three years at least before this happens; only to discover that no, it is more like twelve months...one year to toally alter life as they know it.
My father insists that he is ok with this, just momentarily emotional while talking to me...my mother is shockingly alright...in fact, when she took the phone, she calmly explained her point of view, "Everything in this house is just stuff...it is not important to me....all that matters is that I have your father by my side. We can live anywhere and get through anything if we are together." As I am typing this, I just can not stop my flow of tears! Why am I crying? So many reasons! I could not even utter words by this time on the phone I was sobbing so hard. My mother said, "We need not worry about what is done...we just all need to be concerned with our salvation- knowing God and living the best way we can from here on out...; she continued, "I do not want you to worry about us or to cry...everything will be fine...". This is what my life is always like- they comfort me, when I should be comforting them.
I am not mourning the loss of material things....I am truthfully sad for them to sell the house they live in- it's where I grew up; it's where we lived when the daughter was born...it is THE place I know of as home, even though I have not lived there for years. I watched a quirky movie last week that expresses some of what I have felt about this house...in Garden State the main character at one point talks about returning home- this place that you have always known and loved- only to discover that it is not your home anymore...and feeling a loss in that. I remember that feeling...when we (the husband, daughter, and I) moved out, and would come back to visit my parents, I felt like a piece of my childhood was lost to me. So, yes, I am sad about the house. But, it is more than that really...my parents are vulnerable...defenseless against something I can not name...they are human...fragile...and incapable of stopping this. To me, they have always been invincible...unshakable...they recuse me when I am hurting or in need...and I can not rescue them. I can not save them from this mess. I have my own financial mess...I guess I also feel guilty in a sense...since so often they have helped me with financial stuff...paid for things when I could not or loaned money and not said a single word when I had difficulty paying it back...This is no one's fault. It just is. I know everything will be fine...that is just how my parents are. But, whew. I can not stop the tears. This just should not have happened.
My sweet mother, who is filled with wisdom, said, "I did not call you up to tell you that your father was dead...that is the only reason you should cry...so stop your tears now. " She just made me sob even harder. I can NOT imagine this world without them.
It will be ok. I will stop the tears eventually and move on. This is not the end of the world, as my mother likes to say. It just feels like it (sort of), but I know it is not. I also always know things could be worse. This was just a shock to me, to my heart, and my brain. It will be fine.
Thank you for allowing me to invade the early morning hours of the blogosphere to unload this heavy burden. I would like to say that I feel better already, but I would be lying. My swollen eyes actually ache and my head is about to split open! I am off to take some headache medicine and then try to go back to sleep. It is now 4:31. I will rest on my pillow with a song from Garden State in my head...it is a love song really, but some of the lyrics always make me think of my parents...
"I drink good coffee every morning / Comes from a place that's far away/ And when I'm done I feel like talking / Without you here there is less to say / I don't want you thinking I'm unhappy / What is closer to the truth / That if I lived till I was 102 / I just don't think I'll ever get over you..."
P.S. I did not type this as one big gigantic paragraph...I had skipped lines periodically throughout, but it will NOT publish the way that I typed it *grrr*
So please forgive the big LONG mess. I am too tired to sit here and worry about it. I need rest...
P.S.S. That lovely photo of my parents is from their wedding day, 50 years ago in May 2009!

2 comments:

salleebythesea said...

I love you. You know Nana and Papa cannot be stopped by a thing like money. They have weathered worse. Have faith (I know you do). Just think how very RICH they are spiritually now...think back...
It breaks my heart and the hearts of thier adopted grandchildren as well...I know life does not make sense often (how well I know). It does not make sense in our minds how two such loving and giving people have to face this. My temptation is to ask God where is the return on all that giving? But God promised to take care of them...and I know He will. We all will. (and in a secret way...I hope Truman does not find out...unless it will strike some chord of ...well..you know...) Forgive me.
I think I am sliding into the "too personal for blogs" area...so I will just say this: It WILL be ok. I love you, and we all cherish them.

natalie said...

Oh, Andi! I didn't realize. I've been so out of touch! I'll be praying. Praying for all of you.