Monday, September 27, 2010
Discovering A Treasure...My Parents' Love Letters
Children have a limited view of their parents' relationship with one another. After all, Mom and Dad are seen through a child's filter and perspective. My relationship with my Mom and Dad was no different. They were married for more than 50 years, both came from complicated childhoods, and at times seemed at once loving and also in desperate conflict with each other. They danced in the minefields of life... together. They navigated the depression and lived through an unthinkable separation during WWII.
Recently, in doing a deep clean of our basement and sifting through old, old boxes...I found an unexpected treasure. A new glimpse, if you will, of who Dolores and Mark were to one another. I found their old love letters and the cards they wrote to one another on birthdays and anniversaries.
I almost felt like I was intruding to read them..yet I had to know an age old question. Did they really love each other deeply?
Was that the foundation that held them together in spite of all the fighting and Dad's drinking. Did love keep them together as they tried to navigate life, even in times that seemed like all out war?
As an only child I watched them. I learned. I knew what set my Dad off, and I also knew that my Mom needed a protector. I was the one caught in the middle. But I also saw glimpses... Moments when there was so much kindness.
Who were they... really?
The letters are short and filled with such admiration and sincerity. I can almost hear their voices as I read the words through my tears. And then when I saw this clip on You Tube, I was once again reminded that all relationships from time to time are tested. It feels like a marriage may not make it. But years later, those battle wounds and scars make it stronger. I love in this clip how couples show their wedding pictures and then dance together...holding one another tenderly.
My Dad died first. My Mom never truly recovered from losing him. Neither did I. All the irritations and old issues subsided with his passing. The missing never ended. We forgave him.
And then she, too, was gone. My heart broke in a way that only God's grace could help put it back together. I miss her every day.
The letters tell the story. She did love him. She signed them.."Love always, your Dolores" He did love her..."You were the best thing that ever happened to me."
When I was little I used to see them dance together in our living room. Now I love to imagine them both, dancing together in Heaven.
Love and blessings!
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