When I was 18, my dad died.
He had been (mis)diagnosed with MS when he was only 19 or 20. So, there he was with 2 little kids, a pretty little wife and what amounted to a death sentence. If he lived very long, he would be wheelchair bound. A "burden to society", having "his butt wiped" for him. This was a man who locked the bathroom door before taking out his bridgework. He found the prospects of nursing care and a permanent disability terrifying.
He had lost his own mother when he was less than 3 years old to an ovarian tumour. Understandably, he freaked out and went a little off the rails upon getting this diagnosis. As a result of his behaviour, he and my mother divorced when I was 18 months old.
At least, this is how I think the story goes. At that time in my personal history, I was busy with potty training and sticking small toys in the dog's ear so my memories are a little hazy.
My mother went off to nursing school and my sister and I lived with my dad's grandparents until she remarried and came back for us when I was 5. Funnily enough, she married one of my dad's best friends and everyone got along great. There was none of the bickering and hatred between them that most divorcing couples experience. I was also young enough to never remember them together.
However, as soon as I was given a chance , I went to live with my dad. That was age 12. I left the ranch we lived on, the small town I'd been raised in, my beloved great grandparents and my siblings to go live in the Okanagan with my dad.
It was worth every sacrifice. He showed me I was of value, I was lovable, funny and I made him happy. My step mother Shirley, was no treat to live with and my step-siblings were weird but it was still worth it. Growing up with such a great guy was worth every price I paid.
Because my mother didn't handle my rejection, defection or my new, happier disposition well, I became permanently estranged from my mom, sister, half sister and brother and it was still worth it.
Unfortunately, the MS that had semi-paralysed him down one side to be a brain tumour after all those years and when he was 39, it killed him.
As of this week, I will have out lived him by 9 years.
The point of this little dissertation, if there is a point is that I'm getting old. Dad never wanted to grow old. He was too afraid of what his future held. But here I am, 48, officially closing on 50 years OLD.
And I love it!
I'll happily turn into a Crone if it means grandsons daily (almost) and a granddaughter a couple hours away.
If it means having an adult daughter to be your partner in crime, grime and everything in between.
(deleted due to Someone's rampant paranoia)
If it means cherished friendships of 20 years and longer.
If it means just getting to this place in time with everything I have and everything I have experienced.