My feelings for Gerry are very simple and straightforward, in spite of the fact that he was a rather complicated guy and I have my own share of hard edges and high standards for both myself and others. Gerry and I had a great relationship. There was nothing difficult or conflicted in the way we felt for each other. It was unconditional and absolute.
For numerous periods during our time together these last 34 years, our relationship was one that was expressed primarily in phone conversations. It started when I was very young after Freddi and Gerry separated, and we had regularly scheduled calls on Sunday evenings. And for the last 10 years or so, we’ve spoken most evenings at pre-arranged half-hour windows. The calls were important to him, they were for set times, and I took them as a commitment.
I know Jack and perhaps others who observed my adherence to these scheduled nightly calls, might have seen these as examples of me acting in an obligatory way and Gerry being dependent on me. Because you can imagine the scene, Skylers’ hungry, Zoey’s fussy, dinner is about to go on the table, and all of a sudden I look at the clock and go into the other room to call Dad because the time window is about to end. But I’ve always known that I was the one who got the greatest reward out of these calls. Each conversation was an excuse to wallow in the love that he poured on me. And above all else -- like the pecks he gave for kisses, his dry humor, and the way he rolled his eyes – it’s these calls that I am going to miss the most.
There are some precious, though admittedly painfully precious things about the last month and a half that I am grateful for. One, that we got to say goodbye to him, and to know that he was surrounded by love when he died. My relationship with my brother was forever deepened as I witnessed him take such extraordinarily tender care of our Dad. My husband, whose strength I rely on everyday, was willing and so able to dive in and handle any aspect of what we needed during this time. He’s known since the beginning that along with me, comes Gerry, and that includes whatever long-term care and living arrangements are required. I got to see my mother again be the glue that holds our totally unique and wonderful family together. And I am humbled and awestruck and moved beyond words at the loving way my mother, my father and my step-father have honored their ex-spouses and the new expanded families that got created in the process. And Dad was so proud and interested in all of us. Ron’s kids, both sets, Brandon and Me, and Trev Jr.
Last night Brandon, Freddi, Dierge, Ian and I sat around talking about that amazing and wonderful aspect of Gerry that almost reverently honored family ties. There was a sweetness and purity to his family devotions that I am really looking forward to learning how to carry that onward, on through to my children and hopefully through them, for generations to come.