One of the hardest things about being a caregiver is grieving a loss that is ongoing. We had a grief counselor speak at one of our caregiver support meetings, and she suggested that we consider personal and or group rituals to help us to let go of the relationship as we knew it and to move into acceptance of the present reality. The tributes I wrote about on Wednesday were part of that process. Another was our “Favorite Photos and Memories” night. The idea was simple. Each caregiver brought a favorite photo of their loved one and shared the memory behind the photo with the group. It was one of my favorite meetings.
I’m not sure which photo I took that night, but it was probably something like this one. One of my favorite stories is about Mom and Dad’s young love. I’ve shared it before, at least parts of it, but it’s worth repeating. I thought about waiting until next Friday, because that’s the 72 anniversary of their wedding, but that’s the 21st, and just in case the Mayan predictions are right, I’ll share it today.
Mom and Dad met when they were 17 years old. They lived on adjoining farms in West Texas, went to the same church, went to the same school, and travelled in the same social circles. I love the story of the day their romance really got started.
Even in his older years, Dad was a nice looking man, but he was quite a cutie in those days. All the girls wanted to catch his attention, but he sat quietly on the school bus, wrapped in his own thoughts and shyness. They watched him, giggling and hoping he’d look their way.
“I’ll bet you won’t wink at him.”
“Even if I did, he wouldn’t wink back.”
But Mom, a drop-dead gorgeous brunette with deep brown eyes, saw what she wanted and went for it. “I will,” she said.
She did, and he winked back!!
For the next two years, they courted. They sat next to each other in church, crossing their arms to hide
their entwined hands, but fooling no one. They worked on adjoining rows in the peanut or cotton fields, and when one of the other girls tried to move in on her man, Mom simply picked up her hoe or cotton sack and stepped in front of the intruder, regaining her position by Dad’s side.
Dad’s older brother Dean became interested in Mom’s younger sister Fay. When one or the other girl went to Granddaddy Hagan to ask his permission to go out with her beau, he asked, Is he the bug-eyed one or the squinch-eyed one? I think Dad was the squinch-eyed one.
The two couples often double dated, especially when the boys got an old Model T Ford. I’m not sure how they decided who got the rumble seat, but that was the prized position.
On December 21, 1940, in a double ceremony in the pastor’s parlor, both Hagan girls became Mrs.
Robinson. Both brides were dressed in their Sunday best, and Mom had on a pair of peep-toe high heels. As the pastor read through the ceremony, his baby girl crawled around the happy couples’ feet. Mom said it was hard to focus on her groom while the baby played with her toes. Despite the distractions, I dos were exchanged and the knots were tied.
Dad had nothing to offer his bride but a loving heart and a strong work ethic, but that was enough. They went through some hard times, but he was always there for her. Up until the very end, he took care of his bride.
- Caregivers’ Tributes to Those We Love | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)
- Mom’s Red Hat | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)
- Senior Humor – Edition 12 | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)