At age 93, it’s natural for my mind to wander back to earlier years. And as a writer, it’s OK to pretend I can communicate with some of those who were part of it. Also, it can be a pleasant, perhaps satisfying experience.
The idea may have originated from an observation when I volunteered at a nursing home. An elderly woman resident often sat at a table for four and talked with three imaginary companions. Though sad to see, it was very comforting for her.
So, now as the last survivor of my original family, here’s my imaginary discussion with the four deceased members. First, there’s a question for my father. Why did you neglect your health and die at age 36, leaving a wife and three young kids? I was four years old, and you left us exactly at the start of the Great Depression.
My mother, who managed to get a part-time sweat shop job at 50 cents an hour, had to place her two sons in an orphanage. For ten years, my older brother and I saw each other and our family just once a month. Although it was her only way to survive, sadly she never forgave herself for giving up her sons.
When we reached our late teens and could get jobs to help our mother, it was the start of World War 2. On the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, my brother was at the Army recruiting station. When I reached age 17 two years later, I joined the Navy. Both of us served in the Pacific campaigns, and later could thank and help our mother for her ordeals in widowhood.
Having imaginary talks and memories with long-gone family members can be satisfying. If your years are adding up, and you’re one of the last survivors, give it a try.