Today, I said a final good bye to my beloved…well, I don’t exactly know what to call her. For the past 20 years, she was my father’s closest friend, confidant and companion. Both widowed after long, loving marriages, neither wanted to get married but yet, they spent every day together. They took vacations together and loved each others company. She accepted and loved my wife and I as son and daughter. My children as her grandchildren, indeed, they are the only grandma they have ever really known. She was in every sense that mattered, a mother to me. To say that she was my dad’s “girlfriend” seemed to minimize the immense role she played in our lives. They weren’t married but they spent more time together and shared more with each other than many “official” marriages I’ve seen. So, in this, the time of her passing, I struggle to name the role of a person who’s place was vital in my life but undefined in our culture. Why do I find a need to name her place at all?
Names, containers, boundaries and limitations. It’s seems to be human nature to classify everything and it’s a good practice for objects but, as time goes on, I find it rather limiting when it comes to people. As I look back on the beginnings of our relationship, I waisted time closing my feelings off to her because I placed her in the role of intruder. I simply didn’t know where she would fit in my life so, I went with my default love setting: off. Of course, this didn’t stop her from loving me. Eventually, her love proved to be stronger than my resistance and I was freed to experience one of the most wonderful relationships of my life.
So, Virgia Currin, as I say good bye to your vessel and you live on in my heart, what title should you hold? Since there is no familial designation that fits everything you are to me, I shall simply remember you as my beloved.
Rest in peace and love, Virgia. You will be missed.