This business of missing my mother-Hannah Dick Macfarlan McKelvy, who went to meet the ancestors on June 4, 2014 at the age of 93-is neither messy nor melodramatic.
It is, if anything, peaceful and lovely.
I am calm.
I am at peace.
Which is not to say I am immune from the so-called broken-shoelace syndrome.
I went ballistic the other day when I told Natalie that I was going to take the bus to Midway (airport) in Chicago as part of my forthcoming trip to Florida to witness my cousin Sharon’s wedding to Jeff. When Natalie misheard me and thought I was going to O’Hare, I fired up the old Enola Gay and dropped the big one.
The world was ending, and someone had pulled the pacifier out of my mouth.
No more chocolate milk for me.
I was consumed with frustration and impatience and snapped at Natalie.
And then the moment passed, and I found myself apologizing profusely to my dear wife, who has been trying mightily to cut me lots and lots of slack.
But as for the big stuff-the return to Woodland Terrace in Bridgman, Michigan where Mom lived for the final 44 months of her life-why, I walk through that in velvet-lined body armor.
No sharp edges.
No one bites or barks.
And I do not bite or bark back.
I am calm, cool, collected, and encased in flannel jammies.
Is this the Grace of God?
Am I numb?
I don’t know.
All I do know is that I have been an orphan since June 4, 2014-my father James Scovel McKelvy died September 13, 1985 at 67-and I accept that basic fact of life.
I am 64 going on 65, and my mother was 93 when she died, and I know far too many people who have lost both parents when they were much younger, so I should snap out of this funk I’m in.
But then I remember the words of a good friend who said: “The longer you have them; the harder it is to lose them.”
So I will not and cannot emerge from this soothing fogbank anytime soon.
I will do what it takes to comfort myself in my grief, and, I am told, the best way to do that is to increase Mom’s love and be kind to others.
Even the jerk tailgating me on the way to the bank.
Another friend wisely advised: “This is going to go on for a long time, and it’s going to hit you in all kinds of ways and in all sorts of ways and places. Be prepared.”
I should know: I am, after all, an Eagle Scout.
And, yes, Mom was there in 1965 to pin my Eagle Scout Medal on my uniform that she had so carefully washed and ironed for the occasion.