The Briefest Moment

Sometimes the mind can play tricks on us by allowing us to live in a moment of suspended reality. For the briefest tick of time, we’re living in a moment so surreal. Our mind bends, and we enjoy the brief shock of happiness it brings to us.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I went out to lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. It was a work day, so the restaurant was brimming with folks on their lunch breaks. We scanned the menu, and quickly decided on the lunch special.

Before the waitress could finish jotting down our order, my mom paused, turned to her and said, “Before I leave, I’d like to place another order of food to go.”

Her request almost brought me to tears.

My mind wandered, and for a flicker of a moment my father was still alive as I imagined him sitting in his favorite chair at home waiting for my mother to return with his food. During her drive, the aroma of the food would fill her car on her journey home. Perhaps she would have ordered the Orange Chicken or Fried Rice, my father’s favorites. I imagined her walking through the front door of her house with the bag of food on her hip.

Who goes?” he’d yell to her as he always did. He’d smile at my mother, pleased with her thoughtfulness, and he’d peer into the bag of food. “Thanks dahling!,” he’d tell her.

I’m sure that’s how the story would have unfolded. That is, if my father were still with us today.

The reality, though, was that my mother and I were sharing a simple meal together, and she was ordering extra food for her dinner later that evening. Once my mind journeyed back to reality, I felt a longing for my father. A profound sadness.

I like to believe that it’s in these little snippets of daily life that the spirits of our deceased continue on and live. No matter how counterfeit the moment that day, the feelings it evoked were real. And for the briefest moment, my father was alive again.

*********
Oct_dad
Happy Birthday, Dad! I miss you so much!
October 1, 1940 – June 15, 2007

dad, in my life

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Comments

11 Responses to “The Briefest Moment”
  • Lilie says:

    That was beautiful and it made me cry.

  • jill says:

    Well, this brought some tears to my eyes… just last night I found my mom’s old phonebook and sat for an hour reading all the names and numbers and studying her handwriting… Then I found a letter she wrote to a friend, but must not have ever mailed… After reading how she said how much she missed me in the letter, I sat there for an hour balling like a baby.

    I know how hard it is to miss a parent. Leslie, thank you for writing about remembering to “see the happy” in the memories!! Your daddy looks like a special man!!

    ps… so glad I found your “new” site!! ha ha…

  • Lark says:

    We miss him, too….especially at Easter and on the 4th of July. We have so many great memories of your dad’s kindness. He just had that something about him.

  • Hank says:

    Thanks for writing this. As odd as it might seem, I’m wearing your dad’s shoes today, in honor of him. I think what makes me the saddest about your dad is when I think of the people we’ve become close to since his passing and realize that they don’t know him. Reading this will help them understand what a wonderful man he was.

  • Leslie Smith says:

    Now that I’m crying from your post AND the comments, I am very fortunate that both of my biological parents are still here. Christmas will be difficult this year without my stepfather. Pleasant memories will comfort us through the sad pangs, I’m sure.

    How lovely that you remember such wonderful exchanges between your parents.

  • sally says:

    Oh Leslie, you made me teary. I love the way you beautifully articulate your feelings and memories of your father. xoxo.

  • justJENN says:

    That was very sad – but a happy memory.

  • claudia says:

    Thank you for sharing with us how a memory can bring us happiness even when our heart hurts. Hope you were able to remember your dad in a special way on his birthday.

  • Carrster says:

    A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jen Thompson says:

    Thanks for sharing…your story definitely brought back fond memories of your dad.

  • mo says:

    It is something you never really get over, isn’t it. My MIL passed away three years ago this week and I have been feeling a lot how you describe. I really miss her so much sometimes and it is the tiniest things that spark the longing.

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