Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Journey of Trust
My mom and dad met at a picnic when my mom was sixteen years old. My dad was twenty-three and had, as he describes it, "just gotten off the boat" (immigrated from the Netherlands). He was (and still is) a handsome man, a gentle spirit, a calm, kind and caring soul. Back then, he would have spoken broken English with a charm only Europeans seem to have. My mother grew up in Whitevale: a small hamlet of a town, with one street, one library, one corner store, a river and a whole lot of beautiful forest for morel mushroom and fiddle head harvesting.
That first meeting didn't last long. My father recalls leaving the picnic shortly after meeting my mother. My mother has said that after that first, brief interaction she turned to one of her girlfriends and whispered, "If that man ever asked me to marry him, I would". She used to describe the feeling as a "knowing" often affirming my worst fear about my latest boyfriend saying, "Gail, when the man that you are going to marry comes along, you are just going to know. There will be this feeling and you'll just know. And well, if you don't just know now, then he's probably not the guy". Typically, my relationships would end shortly after this conversation!
After that picnic and that fateful meeting, a number of years passed before my mother and father saw each other again. He dated a few women, becoming serious with one in particular - Eleanor was her name. My mom also dated and, in fact, became engaged at the age of 19 to a guy named Lloyd. The engagement didn't last long though: Lloyd, apparently a promising business man conducted a business trip to BC to embezzle money from his sick and delusional aunt. After discovering what kind of "business" Lloyd was in, my mom broke her engagement off by sending her ring back to him through the mail! Around the same time that my mom's engagement fell apart, my father's girlfriend, Eleanor, had decided to go travelling through Europe - sans my father! Subsequently, they "took a break". As fate would have it, my mother and father reconnected through some mutual friends. Nine months later, my father was asking my grandfather for permission to marry my mom and voila! A matrimony of soul mates!
I can recall growing up witnessing moments of love between my parents: my mom washing dishes, my dad drying and them sharing a kiss between each plate. My mother has since died; a devastation that is still felt by the members of my immediate family. Despite his getting on with his life and dating someone new, my father still misses my mom every day. He is the first to say that, although the time was short, a short time with the love of his life was better than a long time with anyone else on the planet.
Life is an interesting journey. A journey that doesn't necessarily go in a straight line. Although we can try to direct the path, we never really know where we'll end up and how we are going to get there. It's a journey during which we make connections: some fleeting, some lasting, some with distinctive purpose, some that we wish never happened. It's a journey in which we come across our soul mates; those individuals that leave us breathless and who make our hearts sing. It's a journey in which we give ourselves to love (hopefully at least once), which makes us feel alive in one moment and dying with heartache the next. All we really have on this beautiful roller coaster of a ride is trust: a faith that things will somehow work out the way they're supposed to (even though it really doesn't seem like it sometimes)!
I asked my dad recently, why he didn't pursue my mom after meeting her at the picnic that day and why he let so much time lapse before seeing her again. He answered simply, "There was a connection but your mom was going off to BC for the summer. I figured, if it was going to happen, we would just come together again when it was more right". Then he added, "Life is strange: you don't really know what's going to happen. I would have never believed that, after your mom died, I was going to find companionship with Eleanor's sister! You just never know ..."