Both of my parents have passed on, my father died in a motorcycle accident when I was 5 years old and my mom died a few years ago due to heart and lung issues. Although we truly only have one set of parents, on rare occasions people come into our lives and fill holes. I have been fortunate enough to have had this happen to me not just once, but 2 times.
The first time was a couple years after my dad died. My mom did an awesome job of raising me and my sister, but it wasn’t easy. She had to work, and work a lot. At the time my best friend was William Vignola (I consider him a brother, not just a friend) and our moms were very close friends as well. Well Del and Mike (William’s mom and dad) stepped in and helped my mom quite a bit. I can still vividly remember the family vacations that I went on with them as a kid. And I’ll never forget how Del taught me how to drive, that was one of the best summers of my life.
Well about 15 or so years ago Mike passed away, and that was the second time I lost a father. Losing a parent sucks, most people experience this twice, once for mom and once for dad; I know Mike wasn’t my actual father but he treated me like a son for a long time.
In 1988 I had the good fortune for my third set of parents, Jim and Linda Rainey. I joined a band and Kenny Rainey was the drummer, and we practiced (practically lived) in his parents basement. Kenny and I quickly became very close friends and it didn’t take long for Jim and Linda to start treating me like I was their own son. They had a summer home in Long Island and we spent most weekends out there fishing, camping, and just having good times and making memories. I think I ate dinner at there house at least 5 times a week for years.
About 5 years ago Jim died of cancer; this for me was the third time losing a father and the most devastating. Words alone cannot express my love of this man, and the gratitude I felt for all he did for me. I still get emotional when I think back and talk about some of the times I spent with the family.
Although over the past 20 years I haven’t seen Del as much as I would have liked to, I still love her as if she was my own mom. Last night William called to let me know Del is down to her last couple of days. She has decided it’s her time and has pretty much stopped eating and she is ready to go join Mike. I write this with tears in my eyes, regret for not going to see her and spend time with her a little more often, and for losing a mom for the second time. I have so many things running through my head when I think back, but if I started to write them all, my computer would run out of memory. Aside from teaching me how to drive and the family vacations, one of my best memories of Del would be eating lunch at the house on Home Place. I can’t explain why, but I think of that often.
That leaves Linda Rainey, the last mom I have left. I haven’t seen Linda in a while caused she moved to south Jersey after Jim died so she could be closer to her sister, Aunt Marlene (who I also consider family). Looks like a trip down the parkway is in the near future…