Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bob 1920 - 2008

Mom met Bob about eight years ago. He moved in next door to her at the retirement center where Mom lived. He was newly widowed. “He says I’m cute”, Mom told me, with a little tiny sparkle in her eyes. Mom had been widowed twice, and she had been contentedly single for over twenty years. It had been quite awhile, but I remembered that little sparkle from when she began going out with my Stepdad.

It wasn’t long before they started spending time together. They were both in their 80’s. At one of my weekly visits, she confided that they were going on a date. “He can drive”, she informed me, and the reversal of the mother/daughter role was instant. Is he a safe driver? Who was this man who suddenly wanted to date my eighty+ year old mother? I felt like the mom of a teenager (which, actually, I was at the time anyway). I felt very protective.

I didn’t think it would go very far, what with Mom being a staunch conservative Lutheran and Bob being a liberal Buddhist/Episcopalian. But, of course, given Mom’s concern for Bob’s eternal soul, she was able to persuade him to attend church with her, and he converted. It was through that time that Bob proposed, and Mom eventually accepted. I figured out that Mom was going to accept Bob’s proposal when we were shopping right before Mother’s Day. What did she want for a gift? A baby blue negligée. The wedding took place in the summer, at their church, during the Sunday morning service.

So Bob became part of our family. He had never had children of his own. This was all new territory for him. He may have been a bit overwhelmed with the grandchildren but he adapted well, and we all came to love him, too.

I often felt that I wished we had known Bob earlier. He was born in Canada & became an American citizen. He fought in WW II in the U.S. Army. He had traveled extensively. He was bright and articulate. I wish we had had more time for conversations. His health worsened, though, and communication became more challenging. He & Mom moved to assisted living.

Bob passed away four months to the day following Mom. A few weeks before, we had brought him up to our little farm for lunch. His health was declining. He said he wished he could do things all over again, and would do so many things differently. He was at peace, though, and he was ready to go. It was just a few days later that he was in the hospital, and then placed under hospice care.

We were grateful to have had Bob in our family. We miss you, Bob!