The friendship between Dad and I grew stronger during Mom's illness. We attended prayer meetings on Wednesday nights together in our church. And though Mom was not recovering, her illness brought all of us closer to God and to her. On July 16, 1978, in the early morning following my 19th birthday, Mom went Home. Some felt she waited until my birthday was over. It was the second and last time that I saw Dad cry. The first was when his father passed.
In the months and years that followed, Dad and I attended retreats with my friends and once in Ocean City, Maryland by ourselves, and we all attended weekly prayer meetings at church. We went to Riis Park beach in summer and had a blast. Then as he attended a meeting at church, Dad met a new friend, Dottie, who lived a few blocks away. In time, I asked her to pray a novena for me to meet the right one. Within a few months, I met my husband-to-be, Greg. He and Dad had two things in common: baseball and me. One year later Greg and I were married.
Following our wedding reception, the "Just Married" sign was hung on our trunk and cans and streamers were tied to the bumper, and it all guaranteed we'd make a lot of noise. We said goodbye to Dad, who was seated on the stoop. That's what people did in Brooklyn. He waved and looked down. Life was changing for us. Again. And I hoped he wasn't sad about it.
Greg drove away from our exit on the Belt Parkway, and I dabbed tears until I was exhausted from the full range of wedding day emotions. We laughed about it later when he described the expression on the faces of those who sped up in other vehicles attracted to all the action that hung from the back of our car, and discovered the bride was sound asleep.
Dad and Dottie were friends for over thirty years past that day. And Greg and I will be married for 32 years.