**Last week I jumped on the Spin Cycle. Sprite's Keeper assigns a weekly prompt and then issues orders to all who are willing to "Have at it!" This week's topic is Change. You can check all the other spins at Sprite's Keeper's site.**
After my mother's death, understandably, Daddy was depressed. After completely dedicating himself to taking care of her during her illness, he didn't seem to know what to do with himself after she was gone. Before Mom's illness, Daddy enjoyed fishing, tinkering with tools, gardening and helping friends with many neighborhood projects. After Mom died, he lost interest in pretty much everything. It was like he was just waiting to die also. We all tried to pull him out of it but he just wasn't the same.
He turned a corner while visiting his brother and sister-in-law in North Carolina. He met a friend of theirs that was visiting from California. They went out to dinner together and Daddy enjoyed himself for the first time in awhile. The lady friend, who we will call Louise, returned to California and Daddy came back home to Florida. They began to talk on the telephone. It was during this time that Daddy starting referring to her as "That Louise". You see, we have a dear family friend with the same name and he would use "That" to clarify about whom he was speaking. I found this quite humorous and began to give "That Louise" updates to my friends. Daddy and I are very close and he was very open with me about his budding friendship. It wasn't long before "That Louise" was making plans to visit Daddy in Florida. She stayed less than a week. He didn't sound very happy during our daily phone chats that week. He called me from the airport after her plane departed and left this message on my voicemail: "Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!"
And that was the last we ever heard of "That Louise."
While Daddy and "That Louise" didn't quite hit it off, her visit did accomplish one thing: It made an announcement to the neighborhood, his family, friends and the community at large that the man was ready to entertain the idea of companionship.
It was about a week later that friends from across the lake came to visit and brought someone with them. I'm told that this couple, the Snowbirds, were coming to visit Daddy and while walking to their boat, they came across Miss Daisy who was doing some gardening. They asked if she would like to come along. They explained that they had a friend they thought she should meet. She politely declined. They persisted. She begged off saying she was dirty from gardening and it would take too long to get ready. The Snowbirds wouldn't quit. They were clearly on a mission. They were about to return to Indiana and couldn't leave without putting their matchmaking skills to the test. They insisted their friend wouldn't care that she wasn't wearing make-up or that she was a bit dirty. She eventually relented but insisted on at least combing her hair. And across the lake they went.
I try to talk to Daddy every day. I called that day during the Snowbirds' and Miss Daisy's visit. There was something in my father's voice when he said Miss Daisy's name that stuck in my head. A few weeks later, he called me. Alert! I call him every day to chat. If he calls me, there's a reason. He quickly dispensed with all the pleasantries and said, "I've been seeing someone."
"Miss Daisy?" I asked?
He was shocked. "How did you know?"
"I don't know, just something about the way you said her name a few weeks ago when she visited with the Snowbirds."
Daddy apparently called my sister and brother to make the announcement too. My brother, Smitty, the family gossip, wasted no time getting on the phone. "Did you talk to Dad? What do you think? Have you met her? Do you think they're having sex?"
At which point, I screeched into the phone, "Geez, Smitty, I don't know! And I don't want to know! Lalalalalalalalalalala Stop it! Not another word!"
The consensus of all the kids was that we were happy if he was happy.
The Snowbirds, as it turns out, have mad matchmaking skills. Miss Daisy and Daddy had so much in common, it was almost creepy. Let me count the ways:
- Miss Daisy's husband died a little over a month after my mother died.
- Both Mom and Mr. Daisy died from colon cancer.
- They had the same doctor.
- Daddy and Miss Daisy had never met before that visit but Miss Daisy and my mother were in the same women's' club.
- Miss Daisy is from the same county in Indiana and she and Daddy know a lot of the same people.
- Miss Daisy's brother worked with my father in Indiana.
A few weeks later, we drove up to visit Daddy. We were introduced to Miss Daisy briefly but she wasn't around much during our visit. The funny thing was that every time we couldn't find my father, he was outside on his cell talking to his girlfriend. It was a little strange. But it was clear that he was in much better spirits than he had been for over a year. I actually found it pretty funny. He was acting like a 16 year old boy.
It was a few months after that visit that Daddy and Miss Daisy came to visit us for the weekend at our home. I have to admit it was a little awkward watching my father swapping spit with his girlfriend on my couch. At one point, while walking thru the living room with a laundry basket, I joked, "Get a room!"
I have friends who have admitted that they wouldn't like it if one parent began dating after the other died. But seriously, why would you want your mother or father to be lonely? I would be lying if I said that it didn't feel a little like betraying my mother by accepting Miss Daisy in the beginning. But after getting to know her, I like her, I love her. I love that she makes my father happy. She's funny and warm and as sweet as can be. And she is nothing like my mother. For me, that's a good thing. It would be very weird if they were anything alike.
Daddy and Miss Daisy were married six months later in a quiet ceremony with no friends or relatives. My siblings and I were happy for them but at the same time, we didn't think that we wanted to be there. And we weren't invited they preferred a private ceremony anyway. They came to my house a few days later. MHS and D2 were in Indiana and D1 was away at college. I was their honeymoon entertainment. I'm quite the one man band, you know.
While they were visiting, we ran into a neighbor at the grocery store. I introduced my friend to my father and then stuttered……………….and this is my……………….My what? I barely knew this woman and while I liked her, at forty *cough* hmmm years old, I wasn't about to refer to her as my step-mother. At the same time, "my dad's wife" sounded a little cold. I already had the "my" part out of my mouth and then I followed it with "Daisy". And since then she has been My Daisy. I address cards to her as My Daisy and she signs them that way too.
It's been an adjustment for all of us, most certainly for Daddy and for My Daisy. But even their friends have slipped and called My Daisy by my mother's name. But life goes on. Things change. During my mother's illness, my father and I had a mantra: "The only thing we know for sure………….is that we don't know anything for sure."
Change is inevitable. It's the only thing that endures. Someone said that once and if it wasn't almost midnight, MHS wasn't harassing me to go to bed and I didn't have to get up for work tomorrow, I'd look it up but instead I'll leave that to you if you're interested.
And just to let you know that I'm not a complete slacker, I did look up this quote for you:
"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin