You know how when you encounter a situation suddenly, the first words that pop into your head are the truest ones? Last week I went to visit my parents' grave site. I had only been there twice since my mother passed away back in January--quite a different rate of visitation than with my father, who I visited frequently and even obsessively for the first couple of years after he died, sixteen years ago.
Thinking to rectify the numbers imbalance, I drove to the cemetery, got out of the car, ambled down the hillside to their resting place, looked at the plaque holding both of their names and thought, "Well, that was exhausting."
And that is the truth of it. My parents, both good people, were, um, complicated. Light and dark mixed together, along with a shot of bourbon. I loved them dearly, and miss them, but living with them--knowing them for years and years and years--was an exhausting experience. Now I can laugh about it, because at this point that is a rather happy way for me to think about my family experience growing up.
They both had an excellent sense of humor--my father with his dry wit, my mother with her goofy, cartoon sense of the comic--and I hope, if they still exist on some plane or other, that they are looking down at me and are greatly amused. I am. Shared laughter was an excellent family trait, one I am proud of.
It comes in handy, too, from time to time, as a good weapon against the dark.