Every Super Bowl season I am reminded of what I miss most about my Mom and Dad. Mom died almost eight years ago. Dad has been gone for only two.
Dad was such a sports enthusiast, but I was not. So I would tune into John Madden on KCBS radio to get the short version of updated sports news for the week. It was enough to carry on a conversation with Dad, Mom at his side.
Many of those talks about sports included the question, “What did you think about that Cleveland Browns game, Dad?” Or “What do you think about the Cleveland Indians trading their pitcher?” Despite my parents’ move in 2004 from Ohio to California, they were still loyal to their hometown teams.
That’s what I miss most about my parents: their loyalty. Mom and Dad were always loyal to the four of us kids and to each other.
The two people who were always on my team, who were always on the sidelines coaching me towards greatness are gone.
Dad knew I wasn’t into sports that much and really appreciated the efforts I made to connect with him in that way. Mom cheered me on in her own way by listening intently about my life, my trials and tribulations, and my dreams.
My parents were there for one another through their many illnesses including cancer. The ultimate challenge came near the end of Mom’s life when Dad had to accept her Alzheimer’s disease and care for her with compassion and kindness. Neither of them wavered in their loyalty to each other.
Life goes on without my parents. Days pass, teams win and lose. But when the people you’ve known the longest in your life are no longer there to share it, nothing seems the same.
It’s like I was traded to another team. The game is still rich with excitement, and experiences are still full of purpose and passion, but the coaches have changed, and it’s a brand new season.