It’s a story told to me a few years ago. I rediscovered it while cleaning out some old emails. Sometimes, when a story is shared with me, or an idea for a story, I’ll email myself so that it’s not lost. I almost deleted this one. It would probably make for a good Valentine’s issue, but I dare not archive it as I fear I’ll forget about it again. So, here goes.
She tells me that her parents were wed in 1952. You know, when romance was a reality? She, herself, was born in 1954. She remembers her father having to go away for work. It was tough on her parents, as they were very much in love and being apart was hard on both of them. She recalls her mother placing a letter inside his briefcase. The letter was short and sweet. It read, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.”
Through the years, change was constant. She now had a little brother and a baby sister. Her dad bought a station wagon so as to fit his growing family, and they moved to a slightly larger house. She, herself, was nearing her teen years and as such, had a circle of friends with whom she socialized. But dad still traveled for work, and mom, without fail, would always put a letter in his briefcase that read, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.”
Her dad eventually retired in 1994, much to the delight of her mother as well as her and her siblings, who were now grown adults with their own families. It was always a treat to take her kids to visit their Grandma and Grandpa, and she marvelled at how much they still fawned over each other after all of these years. The only time they spent any significant time apart was in 1997, when her mom had to go stay with her grandmother who had taken ill and eventually passed on. It was her that drove her mother to the airport on the day she left and, as her mom and dad hugged each other goodbye, he handed her mom a letter. Her mother’s eyes became misty as she read the letter, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.”
When the Grandmother was laid to rest, her mom and dad were, again, inseparable. Maybe because they spent so much time apart during her father’s career, they were trying to make up for lost time. Despite obviously being in the fall of their lives, they giggled and flirted with each other like young newlyweds. You could tell when they were going out because she always wore this one dress he had bought for her. Every time she came out of the bedroom wearing that dress, he would whistle and she would blush.
The last time her mother wore that dress was in 2008. We call the fall of our lives the ‘Golden Years’ because perhaps that’s when we fully appreciate just how
precious time truly is. For her dad, his time would come to an end in 2008. She stood beside her mother as she said her last goodbye. But before they closed the lid on his casket, her mother reached into her purse and pulled out a letter that read, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.” She folded it and lovingly placed it in his breast pocket.
She had forgotten about that dress until 2012. Her mother had fallen ill, and knowing her time was coming to an end, she made sure her children knew exactly how she wanted to take her final journey. Among her final requests, was that she be laid to rest in the dress that her husband so loved to see her in. When the time came, her children fulfilled those requests. It was she who went through her mother’s closet to find the dress her mother had requested. She took it to the funeral home so that they could dress her mother for the final farewell.
On the day of the funeral, she showed up early. The mortician pulled her aside and told her that there was something pinned to the inside of the dress. He handed it to her. It looked to be a letter with a safety pin. As he walked away, she opened the letter and read in her father’s handwriting from so many years earlier, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.”
When the service ended, she and her siblings stood beside her casket to say their final goodbyes. She tucked her father’s letter under her mother’s hands as each of them kissed her goodbye and said, “Wherever you travel, so goes my love.”