My mom’s death has had me out of the loop

My mom passed a week ago Monday at the age of 85 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and other health issues.
I had just taken some vacation time two weeks ago to visit her in Columbia, S.C. and two days after I was back in Evansville, my younger sister called to tell me that mom had died shortly after going to bed Monday night.
She was a strong-willed Christian woman who made my dating life difficult in high school. If she could have conducted instant background checks on any girl I was interested in, she would have. She wanted to know the names of parents (I rarely knew that), what church the family attended, how they were doing in school, etc.
But even then, she had to like them. As far as she was concerned, if they didn’t go to North Trenholm Baptist Church, I was wasting my time.
I made the mistake as a high school sophomore of falling for a girl who was a year younger than me who wasn’t a member of our church. And poor Dorothy made the mistake of sitting on my lap in my mom’s presence. The relationship didn’t last much more than a month after that.
My mom never did get over her judgmental ways when it came to girlfriends and boyfriends of her children. She made it known in various ways that she didn’t care for any of the people my sisters and I chose to date.
It took a couple of years for her to admit that I had made a good choice when I popped the question to Marie. After all, our relationship had started off on the wrong foot when Marie moved in with me in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Our living in sin was a practical matter. Marie lived in Sarasota and I had taken a job in St. Petersburg, so it was either move in together or risk my demise driving an hour each way every night after work.
The revelation came to me in the wee hours one night when I momentarily dozed and found myself on the path of destruction with a concrete barrier at the Bradenton side of the Sunshine Skyway.
Marie and I have been married for more than 33 years, so my mom was wrong at least once in her life.
But she was an amazing woman who had a career as a nurse, then opened her own catering business and eventually decided to pursue a history degree at the University of South Carolina in her 50s. She did so well, she was chosen for a year long program based in England that allowed her to study European history.
I write this as way of explanation for my absence the past couple of weeks.
My dad died 10 years ago at the age of 75, so I now know the pain of losing both parents. It’s not easy.
I will be back at work on Wednesday.

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