A 45 Year Marriage

Since it is Mother’s Day on my side of the World the plan was to blog about my mother and all the lessons she has taught me, but then something felt uneasy and weird about the day. My heart felt heavy and I attributed that to all the rain we are having today in New York City but then I went into my Google calendar to add an event and I realized that today is May 12th…May 12th!!!! My father died on May 12, 2015!

So that’s what it is! The heaviness in my heart was from that undeniable feeling of loss, I sometimes don’t even recognize. It’s weird, isn’t it? I know the anniversary of Daddy’s death was coming up and I had planned to honor him by writing about him in one of my blog posts on the actual anniversary of his death but I didn’t realize that this year the anniversary of his passing would coincide with Mother’s Day.

It doesn’t seem fair to write about my Mom on the anniversary of the day I lost the most formidable man I have ever known and it doesn’t seem fair to dedicate my blog post to my Dad on Mother’s Day. I could just cop out and not write at all since I am not feeling my best and let the sadness take over my day but I am way overdue a blog post so I have decided to write about them, both of them, and their marriage, instead.

I was one of the lucky ones, it wasn’t until I was in elementary school that I realized that not every household had a mother and a father. I had taken it for granted that all my peers were being raised by the people who made them but that wasn’t always the case. This fact made me appreciate my parents’ union more and more and when I became a full-blown adult going through my divorce I realized what it must have taken to stay married for the 45 years my parents were. They were lucky enough to be able to live their vows and did not part ways until the day my father transitioned into another World.

He had kissed her that morning, she said. He had kissed her on the morning of May 12, 2015, for the very last time. It was almost as if he knew he was leaving her forever on that day. My father had been really sick for the past few months and had become bed-ridden since February of that year when the Cancer had ravished his body so brutally his legs could no longer carry him and he was confined to a wheelchair.

My mother took care of my father like she always had during their 45-year union during those last few months of Daddy’s life, except, taking care of him in those last months was very different and more demanding than all the years put together because now she had to bathe him and sometimes even feed him and care for him in a way she had never done before. As she fed him breakfast that morning he motioned for her to come closer to him. When she did, he kissed her, he planted his lips squarely on hers, something he hadn’t done in weeks, maybe even months.

In retrospect, I am almost certain that that was his way of saying goodbye without alarming her. A way of saying good-bye, without letting her know that those were his final hours. My father was that kind of man. He was that old-fashioned kind of guy that would bear the brunt of pain, suffering, and difficulties by himself without unloading on anyone, especially his wife. In his eyes, his number one responsibility in life was to take care of his wife and his family despite whatever he was going through no matter how difficult the circumstances, without complaint; and take care of us, he did

Growing up we were never in want for anything, anything at all. My father was an excellent provider. The irony is that when they first got married my mother made more money than my father. She has often told me the story of how she had to apply for the loan on their first house because she had a nice, stable job as a civil servant with the Jamaican government and my father was merely a soldier in the Jamaican army. He was not making much money back then and would never be able to get a loan, but my Mom stepped up to the plate and did what she had to do to secure their mortgage.

That may have been the only time in their marriage that my mother had to step up financially because my father, who was a visionary, left the army a couple of years into their marriage, and with his keen sense of business and leadership qualities built a company from the ground up which had over a 100 employees on the day he died. He was a shrewd businessman, who knew how to take risks and turn over a dollar. He was driven, disciplined and determined and I admired that about him so much.

Isn’t that what marriage is about though? The willingness to step up and help your partner for the betterment of the union as a whole. My parents’ marriage wasn’t easy; I witnessed first hand a lot of compromises and sacrifices. It wasn’t easy but it worked and somewhere along the way they learned the art of compromise and didn’t view letting go and letting the other person “win” as one individual getting their way over the other.

One of the many things I admired about them was their ability to listen to each other – not just hear the other person but to listen. No doubt, my father was the head of the household but he listened to his wife. No important decision was made without her, even though he was the head. He was in charge but not above “taking counsel” from his wife. They complemented each other because they never competed with each other, they each had their individual role to play, which they did very well and happily too.

On May 12, 2015, a few hours after my father kissed my mother for the last time he took his last breath. It was his goodbye. He let himself go after she had left their bedroom. In those last days, she was with him all the time but not even an hour after she left the room at approximately 1:05 pm he let himself go. He took his last breath, knowing she wasn’t there, because in his own way he might have thought it best not to alarm her or not to let go in front of her and make an already sad situation even sadder.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Moms out there, but especially to my Mom, who gave so much to her children and her husband. And to Daddy, the reality of your death has a way of striking at the most inopportune times, I still think it’s crazy how your larger than life persona was reduced to just a shadow of who you really are in the end. I will always remember you though as the strong, fierce, force to be reckoned with that you actually were. A man who loved his family, his wife and his children, more than anything else. A pillar in his community, a tower of sheer strength and determination. A real family man.

Like what you’ve read? Please let me know by hitting the like button and leaving your thoughts in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow/subscribe if you enjoyed this piece. Thank you! πŸ’•

124 thoughts on “A 45 Year Marriage

      1. I know what that is like… maybe too much pressure (you putting on yourself etc?) I tend to… do desperately trying to break that and giving myself a break and learning to say NO… work and personal…❀️❀️❀️ hope you get your strength back!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sure I will love it. I haven’t had the time to read it yet. I have been extremely busy, so busy I haven’t written anything myself in weeks. I’ll eventually get to it though. Thanks for including me.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh – such love here with joy shared and sadness -p your dad’s last breath was chilling and he sounds awesome.
    and loved this little line. it said so much:
    ” admired about them was their ability to listen to each other – not just hear the other person but to listen”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rakkelle, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience with your Dad…I imagine that you must have had some sensitive emotions on that day. I am sending a huge hug to you.

    Blessings––and by the way, I noticed that you live in NYC. I may be visiting again soon (I used to live there and am considering moving back. πŸ™‚ )

    Take good care of yourself!!
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debbie, thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate you reading. Yes, it was a terrible day….Virtual hug recieved, Deb, thank you.

      Yes, I am a New Yorker. I am in the city myself. Where in New York did you used to live? Why’d you leave in the first place? I always wonder why people leave New York and where they go when they leave and whether or not they’re having better experiences in their new home.

      Take care, Deb.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for asking Rakkelle! I lived in the UWS for years and then moved to Nyack and then to LA. I really liked the move, relaxed me in a lot of ways. Then I came back again a few years ago and spent a year in Brooklyn (in Park Slope). I loved it and still, the city was a little too much for my body. Sigh––it is certainly beautiful!

        Blessings, Rakkelle. Have a great week.
        ~Debbie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The energy in Park Slope is delightful, but I totally get it not all bodies can handle the fast pace. I, myself, is in a laid back more suburban, quieter area.

        Have a great week, Debbie.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your father was an amazing man. Your mom is an amazing woman. I loved reading this tribute to both of them. We who did not grow up with loving, functional fathers still love this kind of story. It’s inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! If nothing else, my father was indeed functional and a huge family man…Was he the type that sent you out the door every morning with a hug and well wishes? No! But he sent you out the door with lunch money every morning and a desire to do your best in an effort to live up to his expectations. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Every time I check your page to see if you’ve posted, I click on Follow because it says I’m not following you. Not sure if that is my dumb computer doing that or what, but I’m trying !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s weird. I wonder what’s causing that problem. WordPress does crazy things sometimes, I find. Glad to know that you’re stopping by my page though to see if I have posted anything new, that makes me feel good. I promise to have something new by this weekend.

      Like

  5. I am so sorry about your father. I think you wrote this beautifully; I can’t imagine it’s easy to write about how he said his goodbye, but he sounds like he was a wonderful man, and a loving father to have in your life. This is a touching tribute 🌷β™₯
    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Caz. It’s made me tear up while writing but it’s a story I felt had to be told. My writing did bring back some nice memories of him.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is absolutely beautiful! I have tears in my eyes while reading this. It’s wonderful that your parents had such a long marriage so full of love. They seemed to display the love and patience mentioned at Colossians 3:12-14. I pray my marriage can be the same. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. just so lovely Racs. Grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him and seeing them in their hey day. Cous forever… most of all through his ‘formidable’ bad ass daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So rare…I mean my own son is a product of a broken family; even though he does have a great Stepdad now in the form of my husband, the reality is that he comes from a divorced home, something I initially didn’t want for him but the circumstances leading to the divorce was beyond my control.

        I’m glad your Dad is still around, and I hope you get to spend time with him often.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is really a beautiful tribute, and it’s fitting that you would write about both your parents on Mother’s Day because they really completed each other, made each other better. I’m sorry that both you and your mother lost such a wonderful person, but also glad that you both had such a wonderful person in your lives who did so much for all those around him.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us because his influence is still making the world a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you so much for your lovely words.

      I recieved a notification yesterday that you liked this post and I was hoping you’d comment so I could communicate with you here. I dropped by your page yesterday and caught up with your writing and even though I was able to “like” the posts that I read I wasn’t able to leave a comment on any of them. I think we are back to where we started with me not being able to comment under your posts. I remember you had fixed the problem but here we go again.

      It bothers me that I can’t comment on your creative pieces because your writing is relatable. Not that I have anything super witty or extremely smart to say but I’m a big advocate of reciprocity and since you take the time to read and comment on my writings then I would like to do the same with yours, especially since I find your stories interesting and appealing.

      Well, I just needed you know that. I will continue reading your work and liking those that I’m particular fond of, maybe one day you’ll be able to fix the problem and I’ll be able to leave a commentary or two. Until then, I’ll see you over here (on my page).

      Best,
      Racquel

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your words mean so much to me, and you do have smart, witty things to say. Your own posts are so smart and witty I hate to miss any of your comments.
        These things also always seem to happen when I’m out of town and away from my computer. It might have been an update issue, though, and I hope I’ve fixed it now.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. ❀ I'm very sorry for your loss, friend. What a beautiful couple your parents were! It sounds like they had great respect for one another, which is how they stayed together when so many couples split. No wonder you're so damn awesome!! You were raised by awesome people! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Extremely rare these days for folks to stay together. My parents were together for the long run, too, well over
    50 years, and that’s admirable on many levels. What a heartfelt laudation of their love and the positive domino effect thereafter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So so rare. And yes, extremely admirable on so many levels because it takes all kinds of patience and compromise to get to those levels.

      Thank you for your lovely comment. You taught me a new word – “Laudation”. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your mom and dad were the perfect couple from what I’ve read, that picture just confirmed it! They look perfect, and I’m happy that you had such a wonderful set of parents to guide you, that is indeed the gift that parents pass on to their children, the guidance and unconditional love!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Huntress Darling,

      They weren’t perfect, but I understand your sentiment and totally get what you’re saying. They were, in fact, ideal (perfect) for each other and that’s what made it work. It’s not easy to find that kind of old fashion love these days. πŸ˜•

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Goodness gracious Racquel, I’m sitting on my last day in the Virgin Islands, sipping my coffee and enjoying the view from the balcony reading your blog and sobbing like a baby. Your parents had a beautiful union and your dad was a wonderful man. Your story touched my soul. Hope you and your mom had a great day together. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww, Zora. So sorry I made you cry. To tell you the truth, I teared up a little writing it too.

      Yes, my parents had a special union. It’s that old school love. Hoping I can have that with Greg. I don’t want him dying on me though. 😣

      My Mom wasn’t with me yesterday, she’s in Jamaica but she’ll be here soon. You should come over and meet her.

      Thanks for always reading, Zora! πŸ’•

      Like

  13. A beautiful story of an old fashioned love. My parent’s were together and married for over 50 years. My mom died on mother’s day, so I must say I have sad memories of the day. My dad was similar to yours. He passed away in 2005.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent! Thank you for this post. It is inspiring. When I read posts like this I automatically begin to evaluate where I am as a husband and father – in a healthy way. Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What an incredibly beautiful love story! Thank you so much for sharing with us. It really brightened up my afternoon. Enjoy your evening and memories, R. And of course… Happy Mother’s Day! πŸ’–πŸŒ·πŸ₯‚

    Liked by 1 person

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