As far back as I can remember my twin sister and I always received the same amount of presents under the tree. My mom made sure that neither of us felt that one got more than the other. It mattered a great deal to her. I just wanted her time. I still do.
When I was old enough to buy presents for my parents I went overboard. In our teens and early twenties my sister and I put both our names on the gifts. I was the one who usually paid for them. I let it happen. I knew every year that my sister would mysteriously or conveniently forget her wallet. It didn’t matter, I wanted to make sure my parents received the gifts they deserved. Neither one of them had much growing up and Christmas was probably not a good time for either of them. That’s why they made sure it was for us.
When my parents were married my father gave my mother a gold plated wedding band from K-Mart. They were married by a justice of the peace with only one witness. My sister and I were five years old. My mom didn’t care about fancy rings as long as she had my dad.
Secretly, she did want a “real” wedding ring. I never thought of my father as being the romantic type or very perceptive when it came to women. I didn’t give him enough credit.
I can’t remember how old I was. I believe I had to have been in my in my early teens for this special Christmas. I may not remember the year but I’ll never forget what happened.
My mom opened her usual gifts from my dad, household items. What every woman wants on Christmas. But there was one large box left. As she unwrapped it she found another wrapped box. This continued until she came to a small wrapped box. My dad didn’t make it easy. He used packing tape on all of the boxes. When she opened the small box it held a ring box. I immediately saw her face change. She wasn’t laughing anymore. Her face was red and she was silently crying. She looked afraid to open the ring box thinking it was a joke.
My dad finally cleared his throat and said “Honey, it’s okay, open the box”. When she did there was a beautiful diamond ring inside. I couldn’t stop crying at this point. Just watching the pure love and joy on that sweet woman’s face was enough for me. She didn’t care that it wasn’t a large diamond. What moved her was that my father did it out of love and on his own.
No matter what life had thrown at them they always faced it together. No matter what I did to them they loved me together. They were best friends, husband and wife.
My mind blocks out how long she’s been gone. I think it’s been 9 years but it still feels like yesterday. We stopped celebrating Holidays my father and I after she passed away. The rest of the family didn’t. Both of us just want to be left alone. I spend the time punishing myself for all of things I did not do and all of things I wish I had. I remember all of the things said, some good and some horrible. I am told that because I went undiagnosed for so long and also have Conversion Disorder that grief is different for me. I will most likely never be able to achieve any kind of closure.
In a way I’m okay with that. My father is 73 and on Dialysis. His health is slowly deteriorating before my eyes. I live with him and we are close. I’m not sure how I will handle losing him. I don’t think I will do well. This gaping hole in my chest that aches constantly can’t handle much more. I treasure the days I’m numb and manic. But there aren’t enough of them. There’s just this limbo.