I was only 36 years old when my mom passed away. My father died when I was 30. I never thought about "adult orphans" until I became one. The natural progression of life is to outlive our parents, but the whole process changes you on some level. That's how we know the deceased had an impact on our lives. We are transformed. A few weeks after Mom's death, I was walking along the canal bank and I had a thought pop into my mind. I thought about adopting myself out to an older couple as their kid. My first reaction was that the concept was ridiculous, but the more I thought about it, I began to justify all of the reason why it was a great idea. A childless couple would get a devoted daughter (who was financially independent and self-sufficient) as well a great son-in-law and two terrific grand-kids. Win/Win.
I think I even went as far as creating a post for eBay. Needless to say, I never went through with it.
Shortly after that experience, I received a telephone call from my mom's best friend, Pat.
Pat and Mom have been best friends since they were children. Over the years, I have listened to countless stories of their hell-raising adventures in Bear Lake county (especially in their teen/high school years.) Mom and Pat had stayed connected through the years even though they lived far from each other for most of that time. Almost every year they would meet in Idaho for their class reunion. I don't ever remember a trip to the Utah/Idaho area with Mom and Dad that didn't include a stop at Pat and Mike's along the way.
This relationship became a vital part of Mom's life during her last few years. Mom's dream of buying a motorhome and traveling like a snowbird became reality with Pat's help. Pat has homes in Southern Utah (winters) and Bondurant, Wyoming (summers) and Mom loved traveling back and forth between the two (with frequent stops and stays in California with me.) She and Pat were able to hang out as BFF's just like they did when they were girls.
Those phone calls from Pat haven't stopped. She checks in with me (checks up on me) about every 6 months or so. She wants to hear the latest news in the family, what the kids are doing and always asks when I'm headed her way next. My conversations with Pat help fill the void of missing Mom. They are so much alike that it feels as though Mom is not so far away after all.
This picture is from our most recent visit in Utah (July 2015.) Pat is proudly wearing a jacket that my mom gave her (one of my brother Jon's from the Marine Corp that still bears the Faulkner name.) She is a beloved and treasured part of our family.