The last four days were intended to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday, which is really in November. That’s because we Tacketts are always early (being on time is our superpower). We live all over the country, so it’s several years between complete clan gatherings. Mom asked to keep it simple, and celebrate in their home in Southern California. We had small plans for all of us kids and grandkids. We had a BBQ and an outing to Cirque du Soleil in Hollywood. Another dinner…lots of chatter and stories. And then my Dad, who always enjoys a little extra fun, spiced things up with a heart attack. His version of a birthday surprise, though this isn’t his first one.
My brothers and I were able to test our ability to go from sleep to hotel hallway in two minutes, and hospital in ten. We were able to witness the strength of my mother, and the good humor of our father. It wasn’t our Plan A, and by the end of the weekend we were on Plan D and E. But he’s home and resting with his brand new birthday heart stent. He missed the family slide show, premiered in his backyard, with all of us sitting around the
campfire glowing projector with popcorn and memories. And we missed him at that moment, for sure.
During this trip Alex discovered a box of letters my dad wrote to my mom while he was in the Navy. She was 17. He wrote her several times a week for four years. There are hundreds of letters, many several pages long. We sat up until midnight reading them to each other.
There’s more to our story, but that’s all I will write. Processing and pondering and getting on with the life that is before me.