I have seen my father break. Crushed under the weight of the illness and death of his own father when I was a teenager. Then again when cancer took his mother and only brother within mere weeks of each other. I know what it looks like when my father breaks. And there is no shame or weakness in the breaking.
Now I watch my mother. I watch her carefully and in awe as she cares for her dying mother knowing that this will be their last Mother’s Day together in this life. I see my forlorn grandfather lean on his oldest daughter for support as he watches his partner of 63 years slip away from him. I watch my mother as she processes the loss of another family member who took their own life this very week.
Outwardly, my mother shows no signs of breaking. But I wonder when the cracks will show. My father and I wait until she leaves her brief respite to return to care for grandmother. Then dad and I cry together for her. We all break differently. And there is no shame in the breaking.
June 30, 1937 – May 15, 2018