A year ago today I was wandering around an older house with my buyer clients and the inspector, taking notes as I normally do at inspections, when my phone rang. I typically ignore the phone when I'm in the middle of something with clients, but I glanced down and saw the number started with a "505", the area code for my dad's city. Six days earlier, Dad had found out he had terminal cancer, and since it was not my Dad's number, I was a bit concerned, and stepped out of the room to answer the phone. My dad had just gone into the hospital, and I had made reservations to go see him the following week. Perhaps he was calling me from the hospital to discuss my trip.
So I answered the phone. That call came from the doctor at the hospital. He kindly told me that my dad had passed away in his sleep that morning. After asking him a few follow-up questions, I hung up the phone and went outside the house where the inspector was doing his normal things, and I sat on the front stoop for a few moments, absorbing the knowledge of my dad's death on this particular day. You see, that day was also my mother's birthday. She had died four years earlier and my dad had missed her terribly. He did the best he could moving forward with his life, but every day he thought of her and spoke of her. And all I could think of was what a wonderful gift this moment was for both of them. I wasn't surprised this was the day my dad left this earth. I could even picture my mom reaching out to him, and my dad's huge smile, and perhaps a chuckle, as he was lifted up to meet her.
So through my tears, I started the business of next steps. I made my phone calls. I changed my airline reservations, flew out, and handled the funeral arrangements and participated in the funeral. Over the past year, I managed the cleaning out of the house, the estate sale, the paperwork, the closing out of my dad's estate and the sale of their home. But most importantly, I've dealt with being an "adult orphan," knowing I am the oldest living person in my original family. I've thought of death and life, of hopes and dreams. I've seen my parents in a slightly different light as I read through journals they left, notes they wrote, and pictures they saved. Life has once again reiterated for me that we are all on this short trip from point A to point B and it is the journey in between that matters. So I have once again promised myself to make every moment meaningful.
In the last year, I did all that needed to be done with my parent's material possessions as I said goodbye to the physical remnants of their lives. Those are all gone. But their actions, words, lessons and deeds will live on in me and my sister for the time we have left here. So I smile this morning as I look up to the heavens, and I wish both my mother and father a fantastic birthday celebration. And I send a virtual hug their way. And then I move on to make today count.