This is a simple wooden box. It measures about 3" x 5" x 2" deep. It has a green felt bottom to keep it from sliding around or scratching things up. It's been on my Mom's dresser or wardrobe for as long as I can remember. I never thought much about it particularly, but I always liked it, and it was simply always there.
A few months after Dad died, Mom gave it to me. She said it was the first gift that Dad ever gave her, way back in college, when they were first dating. A nice gift. Maybe I already knew that and had forgotten; or maybe she'd never told me where it came from. Of course I was happy to have something from Dad, and something that had such significance from the early days of their relationship. You could say that this box led (perhaps indirectly) to me coming into existence on this planet. I was happy to take it, but I also wondered why Mom would hold on to this box for over 40 years, and then suddenly give it to me when Dad died. Did it represent some kind of closure for her?
What does it mean that Mom and Dad are both gone now? I know it probably doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but what does it mean to me, or for me? This isn't a future that I envisioned. I suppose I knew they would both die at some point, in the distant future. Most of us will lose our parents at some point in our lives -- it's the natural order of things. But I didn't expect it to happen so soon -- I'm too young; they were too young -- and I didn't expect them both to go so closely together. Would it be any easier if they'd still been married all these years, and had died in a plane crash together (or some such thing)? My loyalties always had to be divided as a child of divorce, and I think that persists beyond the grave, at least right now. I feel divided. Who should I be mourning? I was still deep within the process of trying to understand Dad's demise when Mom jumped up on the stage (or off the stage, as the case may be). Can I mourn you together, or just flip flop between you as the mood strikes? This is absurd. That's the only word for it. Absurd. And fuck it.