For people of a certain generation, December 7 is a hallmark in history. I’m not one of those people, having been born three and a half years later.
At the same time, December 7 is a hallmark in my life. My step-father, Ollie, died in his sleep on that day while my Mother was taking a friend to the airport. She returned to find her eighty-seven year old husband in their bed and unresponsive.
As a nurse, Mother was no stranger to death. I don’t quite know what she did next; she never said. But eventually she called me from her home in Arkansas and shared the news. I said I’d come immediately and started making arrangements for the next flight from Chicago.
Ollie made all the difference in my adult life by marrying my Mother after I grew up and left home. She was a formidable presence, and she hated to be alone. He relieved me – an only child – of worrying about this. Ollie let me move on when he stepped in.
Not one December 7 passes that I don’t think of this quiet man, his devotion to my mother, and the contribution he made to the person I became.