Yesterday I visited my parents that live 30 minutes away. Since my daughter Kaitlyn took her life I have not visited them as much as I once did even though I spend most of my days alone. My parents are getting a little older now and while they do suffer in their health, they are still both sharp as a tack and are self-sufficient except for strenuous yard work and such. I have always been very close to my parents and my momma thinks of me the way I’ve always thought of Kaitlyn.
She told me the other day that she misses me though she calls me every single day. So I decided to go see them yesterday. I had asked my mom a few days ago if yesterday would be a good day to visit and she said of course and that she would cook something for me. She is the best southern cook in the world. I am a southern woman born and bred (North Carolina) and was born with the appetite of Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies though I have always tried to manage it. (Except when I was growing up and had a high metabolism. I ate like a 250 pound man). I have gained weight since Kaitlyn died so I asked her to please cook something low fat (she usually cooks low fat anyway now but I wanted to make sure).
Anyway, she cooked pork chops. She fried them in the pan without using oil or flour, just seasoning salt and you have no idea how good that is. She had rice, fresh peas out of the garden, fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh cucumbers out of the garden and sweat tea. I ate like a hungry animal because I’ve been living off Healthy Choice meals and soup for 2 weeks since I’m trying to lose weight. My gosh it was good.
I spent 5 hours with my parents and we talked nonstop the whole time. We talked about when they first got married and the hard and good times they had. (Both my parents were VERY young when they got married). We talked about the time she rung the mean roosters neck that attacked her for the last time and he wound up in a pot of pastry (we call dumplings pastry around here) on our Sunday table. I always love that story. We talked about World War 2 and that my father was drafted into the army just after it ended and was able to be discharged just before the Korean War. We talked about how when he was growing up that his family was self-sufficient on their farm with cows, pigs, chickens, wheat (they took it to the grinding mill to grind and they would make their own bread). They grew sugar cane to make their own syrup. His father only had to go to town once a year for rice and things like that. We talked about so many things and we laughed and I was happy.
I feel guilty when I feel happy. I feel that I can never be happy again and the only way I could was if I woke up and the suicide of my daughter was just a nightmare or I would just see her drive back up in my driveway. To be honest with you, sometimes I just don’t even WANT to be happy because my baby took my happiness with her and only her being here can complete me. She is the missing piece to my happiness. In a jigsaw puzzle of happiness, there is my husband, my other daughter Stephanie, and my family but there’s a huge missing piece and that is Kaitlyn. Puzzles are not complete if a piece is gone. I will never be able to find that piece again.
But the fact is I WAS happy. I felt so good talking to my parents about olden days because I love hearing all about that and I am genuinely interested. My parents are amazing. And the food that my momma so lovingly prepared for me was like something that filled my soul with satisfaction. As my oldest daughter Stephanie told my momma when she was little and she was keeping her a day when she was sick for me, while eating a meal my momma fixed for her she said “Grandma, this food would make anyone well again.” And so it does.
So whether I wanted to or not, I was happy yesterday. And it felt good.
Below: A pic from 1964. I was 4 years old and we were standing in front of one of our tobacco fields (my daddy was a farmer and we had tobacco and strawberries). We were getting ready to go to the lake for the day. In order from left to right, my sister Judy, my momma Lucille, my sister Gail, my sister Sherry, and me the youngest at the bottom with the blonde hair.
Below is a picture of us again in 1964. We were probably getting ready or coming back from church. The man is my daddy UV.