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It Never Gets Any Easier

So tonight was my parents’ last evening here in town.  They head back home tomorrow.  Because they were both exhausted and still had some packing to do, we had an early dinner this evening and parted ways after several hugs and kisses, a plethora of “thanks” for a wonderful last few days, and their promise to drive safely.  Almost immediately after we got in the car to leave, the tears came.  Bidding them farewell never gets any easier.  I was always the girl who never understood why children grew up and moved away from their families.  Even when I was very young, the thought of not being geographically close to my parents would make me heartsick and I would cry.  I vowed never to leave Indianapolis, and even in to my professional career, I had absolutely no desire to find a life anywhere else.  In 1999, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime – a human resources internship with the Department of Defense.  My duties took me all over, but my first stop was here in Kansas City.  Within a week of my arrival (and just immediately after signing a two-year mobility agreement promising the DoD that I’d not set up roots anywhere), I met my amazing husband.  Our love story began, as did the journey of my leaving home and finding a new one.  I was heartbroken to leave Kansas City, but headed on in the summer of 1999 to my other assignments.  And when the opportunity for a permanent placement back in Kansas City came in October of 2000, I was thrilled and jumped (with joy!) at the chance.  Curtis was thrilled.  Finally, a job in the new city I dearly loved with the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with!  Moving away was an odd mix of exhilaration and heartbreak, and I remember crying, quite often, and missing home and my parents so, so much.  The hole I felt in my heart was tremendous.  Curtis was so incredible.  So supportive.  So incredibly worth it.  (And he still is…another story for another day…)  With return visits home came the same heartbreak.  Saying “goodbye” and returning to my new home in KC was difficult.  That was 12 years ago, and the ache is the same even now.  Having them in my home for these last several days and sharing with them in this amazing life I’ve created and then seeing them walk away is just heartbreaking.  I wish they could stay.  I wish Indianapolis and Kansas City were closer.  I wish Facebook and phone calls were enough to make us feel as close as close can be, and that this kind of heartache didn’t envelope me.  I am not sorry I moved to Kansas City and built this amazing life.  I love it here so much.  I love the life Curtis and I have created.  This is the only home our Erin has ever known.  But a (very, very large) piece of my heart will always be wherever my parents are.  I miss them and Indianapolis so incredibly much.

Have you ever had a thought that you were too afraid to share?  Maybe a thought that you figured would go away or be less weighty if you just kept it to yourself?  I am afraid to give this horrible thought a voice here on my blog (or anywhere), because once those words are said, they are out there.  They become part of the lives of the people who read them.  They can’t be taken back.  But, I have to get this pervasively ugly thought out of my heart, and saying it aloud is just too painful.  My amazing father is 70 years old.  I am so afraid that this is the last time I will see him.  His health is good, vision notwithstanding.  Curtis thinks I am very premature in having this worry (and God, I so hope he’s right), but what if?  Visiting with them each year for Erin’s birthday, I see the signs of their aging.  The loss of the vitality and energy I so clearly remember them to have had.  It hurts and it’s heartbreaking.  I know aging is part of life.  I just don’t want it to happen to my parents.

Please keep my parents in your prayers as they drive to St. Louis tomorrow, and on home to Indianapolis on Friday.  Also, please love your parents.  Call them.  If you are blessed enough to have a close relationship with them, continue cultivating that relationship and share in their lives.  If not, make a concerted effort to extend your hand and establish a tie.

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