If you had one day... with someone who's gone

<p>I don't usually read Parade magazine, but this cover story caught my eye today. Mitch Albom asks - who would it be? what would you do?</p>

<p>Me... I'd cheat and spend it half with my mother and half with my father, both long gone. </p>

<p>With my mother, I think I'd spend the day window-shopping in San Francisco, just as we did on one of the most enjoyable days we spent together as adults. This time, amidst the pleasure of just spending a simple day with her, I'd find a way to share how much better I've come to understand her now, and appreciate how she handled what for her was a difficult life, while still giving us kids unconditional love and the strength that comes from knowing your parents are proud of you and believe in you.</p>

<p>With my father, I'd spend the day with him and my son, whom he never met. I wouldn't care what we did. I'd just hope that, by some miracle, he could impart to my son, in only half a day, all of the wonderful life lessons and wisdom he gave to me. (I'd also ask him if, in heaven, he's happened to meet my friend Moe, who died 6 years ago. Because if he hasn't, he should - they remind me of each other, and they can watch TV sports and bet on the teams together.)</p>

<p>Dad.....woodworking, talking books, telling him about his granddaughter and her accomplishments, hopefully one more family dinner</p>

<p>Oh, Jmmom, you've made me cry.</p>

<p>I read the Parade article, and if I had to choose just one it would have to be my mom. Ideally, I'd split the time between my mom and dad.</p>

<p>I'd take my mom out to lunch, and we'd just go shopping. I'd like to include my sisters and brother for part of the time, but selfishly, I'd want most of it to be just with my mom. I'd want to tell her the same things you've said -- how much I love and miss her, and how much better I understand her life. I'de tell her that I admire her bravery in the face of a very difficult life, and how wonderful it is that she never lost her sense of humor.</p>

<p>I'd thank her for the gift of faith. My mom was a rock in this way. She was not dogmatic, but every day was filled with prayer in small ways. Her certainty about God and life after death was just remarkable. Her absolute kindness and understanding of human nature is something I've tried to reach, but can't honestly say I've attained. I'd show her pictures of my kids as they've grown up and ask her advice for the future.</p>

<p>I'd go fishing with my dad, and tell him "Thank you" for the many years of miserable work in a steel mill to support us. I'd tell him I'm sorry for some things I've said, and I'd want him to meet my sons.</p>

<p>There's more, but I leave some room for someone else.</p>

<p>My dad passed away two years ago. If I could spend a day with him, I'd just want to listen to his corny jokes, tell him our family news (he got such pleasure from his grandkids), watch him dancing with my mom, and give him lots of hugs and thank you's for the wonderful man that he was.</p>

<p>The song "Dance With My Father Again" always brings tears to my eyes.</p>

<p>jmmom--you and I were on the same page. It made me miss my mom so much to see that cover. And like you I don't usually read Parade. In fact, I didn't read the article, but just the question on the cover brought forth a flood of memories. Ironically, I had dreamed of her last night as well. Although we lost her in 2002, I still sometimes have those "recovery" dreams--where she is okay, not stroke-disabled any more--and we are so overjoyed.</p>

<p>I too would probably be in San Francisco with her, but at the museum seeing the Monet exhibit, then going out to lunch probably on the waterfront, maybe in Tiburon, our old home. I would savor her joyous smile, her bubbly and infectious enthusiasm, her never-ending delight in the world of paintings and natural beauty. I can hear her draw in her breath as she would once again be captivated by a painting she hadn't seen in a while.</p>

<p>We sometimes have to turn off the memories because to live through them every day would bring too much sorrow. But sometimes it makes us live more deeply, to remember. Thanks for bringing this up and letting us all share.</p>

<p>My father died in December 1992 and my mom died three months later, in March 1993. The sadness just never really goes away.</p>

<p>I never knew my dad well- he died when I was 17- my mother is still alive though- but while I acknowledge many people had enough of a relationship with their parents that they wish to be able to talk to them again after their deaths-just having my mother "around", but without the wisdom that hindsight is supposed to give, doesn't make me think that just by having her not around would make her comments or presence more meaningful.</p>

<p>I would probably like to see one of my many friends who died long before their time. In particular one young man, who was a very good friend, and who died in a situation that he would not have been in , if I had been there.
Much,much too young</p>

<p>If I saw my dad, I would like him to meet my kids and my husband.</p>

<p>I haven't read the Parade article yet--not sure if I want to now, if it leads to tears. :)</p>

<p>My mother died in 1982--eight months before my son, her first grandchild, was born. (She never knew I was pregnant, since I didn't yet know when she died.) She would definitely be the one I would want to spend the day with. I would probably take her out to lunch, but mostly I would just want to talk with her. I would love for her to meet my boys. She wanted SO much to be a grandma, and she would have been so much better than the ones my boys ended up with.</p>

<p>Mostly I would just want to share with her what I have done, what my boys have done, how thankful I am that she was my mother. And I would love to hear her say she is proud of what I have done, even though it is nothing "important" in the eyes of the world. I know she would be, just because she was always that kind of mom.</p>

<p>sjmom, your mom sounds a lot like mine. She was always so kind to others and so supportive of whatever I did. And I remember the last time I saw her. The cancer had taken away most of her strength, and she knew she had less than a year to live. (It turned out to be only a day or two.) We talked about the cancer. She told me that she had cried for a day after getting the diagnosis, but then she stopped. "I have a lot of faith," she said. Faith was not something we had talked about a lot, even though our family had always gone to church. But it was something she lived. And that is what I try to do now.</p>

<p>I just wish my boys could have known her.</p>

<p>First of all, huge big hugs to everyone. It's so touching to read your tributes, and I am sending love and strength to each of you; thank you for sharing.</p>

<p>I am finding it heartwarming that everyone here so far has mentioned family members or friends, rather than someone famous or intriguing in history. I shall not break that trend.</p>

<p>I'm going to cheat a little, though. I'd love to spend a day with my mother; although she's still alive, she hasn't spoken or walked or done much of anything for herself since the day 16 1/2 years ago when she had the first of her series of debilitating strokes. She's still among us, but... she's not there. She used to annoy me, sort of, with phonecalls twice a week, maybe even more often, before my second child was born. But it was she who outran a hurricane to arrive just hours after his birth and helped me through his jaundice and colic that first week. She was so happy to be with both her grandbabies, so thrilled to be Grandmom and so full of life and excitement for them. One of the last things she did was put individual Valentine's Day cards into the mail for them one Feb., then that afternoon she had that first stroke and it's not clear how much of anything she's been aware of since that time. I'd love to be with her as she was for an afternoon, making fun of the silly way she'd whistle at full volume along with the muzak in stores and embarrass the heck out of me, and then make sure she got to know both of her grandbabies and what fun, bright, clever, attractive young men they've grown into. I know she would have made a fantastic grandmother. Although she's been there in the room at family gatherings as her grandsons were growing up, they really didn't get to know her, either.</p>

<p>And then I'd have to end the evening having drinks with Russell, a friend and amazing writer who was working for me at the time he, too, had a stroke while vacationing with his family. My oldest son's middle name is Russell, in tribute to him. His wife told me that she <em>did</em> tell him I had just learned I was pregnant, in the hospital before he died. She said he smiled. I'd love to hear Russ laugh again, and share his wit and zest for life. And to let him know he inspired me to write. I think he'd like knowing that.</p>

<p>Jmmom, and others.....
I too read the article.....I like Mitch's stuff.... really liked Tuesdays with Morrie... anyway, here is my question.....especially to those whose parents died a long time ago (my dad in '81 and mom in '84) ... have you ever been tempted to talk to someone who is dying about saying hi to your family in heaven when they get there? passing along the message that you miss them and think of them often? that you treasure the values you learned from them? that you wish they would continue to watch out for you and your loved ones here? </p>

<p>I have thought about it twice....and I find myself again with another friend near death's door....but I can't bring myself to start the conversation.... too afraid I will be distraught, which is just too unfair to the person who is dying. </p>

<p>No one has to answer this, but if anyone else has ever considered it or done it, I would love to hear your thoughts......</p>

<p>Back to the article, given a day with someone, my gut says I would choose Abraham Lincoln. I would love to know how he kept his faith...where his strength came from.....</p>

<p>maineparent - I've never had that thought, and not sure why. I've had two close friends die in recent years and just never thought of it. Even my friend, Moe, who I mentioned above. It was a couple of years after he died that I thought - oh, he and my dad would so enjoy each other; I hope they've found each up there. In my case, it may have a lot to do with my not really believing there's an "up there." I use the term; I <em>might</em> believe it, I sometimes believe it. But I mostly think that my parents live on in my mind and in my heart. Of that, I am sure. Of anything else, ????</p>

<p>I, too, would like to send tender {{{{{hugs}}}}} to each and every one of you who has suffered the loss of a precious loved one whose soul and spirit remains in your heart. </p>

<p>Articles like the one in Parade tend to send me into an emotional tailspin. Unlike many of you, I cannot long to be with a departed mother, though I would have loved nothing more than to have had a parent about whom I felt so tenderly.</p>

<p>I was estranged from my mother at the time of her death from cancer in Dec. of 2001. We had been estranged for several years, despite my efforts to call and reconcile. She refused the contact. When I received notice that she was near death, I begged to come and see her, but I was refused by my father and my siblings. When she died, I didn't even receive a call notifying me nor information regarding funeral plans. The family did not want me to be there, so I did not have the opportunity to tell her goodbye. I never gained closure for this very troubled relationship, and I continue to be haunted by nightmares.</p>

<p>I never knew a grandparent. Three of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was born and the only living one I met once when I was nine. She only spoke Russian and Yiddish, so even within that one visit, I didn't get to converse with her in a meaningful way.</p>

<p>If I could choose someone who is gone now and with whom I'd love to spend one more day, it would be the tiny baby I lost in early pregnancy before my oldest son was conceived. Though I never got to meet him, I adored him in the profound way that is reserved for a precious child, conceived in love and dearly wanted. It is this precious baby who made me a mother for the first time in my life, and if I could have but one more day to carry him within my belly, I'd rejoice at the opportunity to share my body with him and to treasure his tiny existence.</p>

<p>~berurah</p>

<p>Oh, Berurah, I'm so sorry!!!</p>

<p>I'm sorry you didn't have a better relationship with your mother, and that you weren't able to come to some peace at the end.</p>

<p>I'm sorry for the baby you lost. I feel quite strongly that every life has value and a purpose -- maybe this little guy or gal just helped you get ready for the six to come.</p>

<p>I think I should stop reading these comments -- I just tear up at everyone's post. </p>

<p>I'd like to add that I'd reserve some time for my mother-in-law, who died a couple of years ago. I was blessed with a wonderful mother and mother-in-law -- I don't know how I got so lucky, but I'd like the chance to tell her that I love and miss her, too.</p>

<p>Berurah,
I am so sorry and send hugs and prayers your way. Much as I miss my mom, at least I have good memories, and we both knew the other loved her. It must be so hard to have been denied the opportunity to make peace with your mother. I hope that you can find peace, knowing that you did all you could do. And to lose a baby, too. I'm so sorry.</p>

<p>And maineparent, I have never thought about doing what you ask about. I must admit, however, that occasionally in my prayers, I send a Hello my mom's way. :)</p>

<p>I'd spend it with my brother, skiing, on a cold sunny packed powder day. We'd probably have a boda bag. ;) It would be me, my brother, and my sister.</p>

<p>Apres ski, we'd sit by a roaring fire so he could meet my husband and kids.</p>

<p>In the evening we would go to a Pink Floyd concert. Perfect would be if he sat down by some hot girl with no date.</p>

<p>I think those would be the things he'd most love to do again.</p>

<p>sjmom--thank you for sharing these thoughts, so deep and tender. We don't get Parade in our paper, but this topic is so close to my heart. </p>

<p>I lost my dear mom in Dec 2004, three days before Christmas. If I could spend one day with her...it would be a joy. I would just sit and talk with her and tell her all the news. I miss her so much. She believed in me. We shared so much and became close friends. Her faith was very strong; I know she prayed for me, my family and all her other loved ones. She had a childlike joy in the last 5 years of her life (although she did not know she would get cancer and die quickly). She seemed to see everything in the natural world with new eyes. No matter what, she had an encouraging word for everyone in her life. She lifted up each person in a special way.</p>

<p>berurah -- I am sorry for your losses...it is a compounded loss when you have not been able to say all those things that you want to say. I hope you are blessed with peace knowing that you tried to see your mom and show her your love. I am sorry your family could not reach out to you with compassion.</p>

<p>mootmom, I think that we have probably shared our common experience on another thread. My heart goes out to you. My mom had one sudden, massive stroke (although we found out later that she had had small ones, that no one realized had happened) that robbed her overnight of her speech, all movement on her right side, her ability to read, write, communicate. I had spoken to her a few hours before her stroke. She was so bubbly and happy--had just gone out to dinner with my brother. But she was all alone when she had her stroke--my dad was out of town on business. My heart is still heavy when I think about it....she was such a daily part of our family as she had come to live nearby after my youngest were born. Thoughts and prayers to you; it is so hard to see someone that you love, suffer like that for so long.</p>

<p>Wow, I'm sitting here in my dorm room hoping my roommates don't see my eyes as they start to get watery....:)</p>

<p>I don't fret much but this is too much. I dread the day my parents go, but I've got some time.</p>

<p>To lighten things up a bit, I'd spend a day with....CHRIS FARLEY!</p>

<p>I still remember that day when I woke up and he had died. I really never understood the repercussions of what that day meant. Alas, comedy has never been the same. </p>

<p>I cant even start to imagine a day with Tommy Boy. I don't think I would even say a word. Laughing would be my primary occupation. Keeping an ice pack on my abs would be the second. I'd get him to do one last episode of SNL. I might even cheat and have him star in Celebrity Jeopardy...I might die from the hilarity. We might even take a trip up to Chicago. I'd take him to the busiest intersection in the city, and have him act out his "bee" scene from Tommy Boy; I'd keep track of how many people actually believed there were bees. </p>

<p>We would then precede to commit flagrant misdomeaners throughout the city: peeing off buildings, campaigning political agendas to the elderly, maybe preach about the "superiority" of white people.</p>

<p>As the day ended, we would partake in random chugging contests. We'd sing for someone's wedding, and then watch everyone of his movies, one last time. At the end of the finest day of my life, I would say goodbye, one, last, time.<br>
Then I would slap him for doing drugs!</p>

<p>Wow, this is tough. I think i too have to split it. I lost my dad when I was 14; sometimes I think I never really got to know him, so it would be nice to try to make up for that time, tell him about his grandkids, his son-in-law and everything he's missed.</p>

<p>But I also lost my H's younger sister less than two years ago. She was without a doubt the best human being I've ever known--so kind, so funny, so full of love for the world. We were very, very close friends, and not a day goes by that I don't want to share something I thought or heard with her, and get her take on things. In many ways, she was the family compass.</p>

<p>
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As the day ended, we would partake in random chugging contests...
Then I would slap him for doing drugs!

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</p>

<p>Uh.........OK.</p>