Going through the morning’s triple S activities – shit, shower, shave – he was thinking about his parents and their health. They’d divorced when he was a little boy. Each had contributed to that mess, he decided while conducting his retrospective. Mom forced issues and seemed to thrive on confrontation. Dad shunned conflict. Throwing himself into work, he’d held several jobs simultaneously. He did each well, and they paid well.
After their divorce, Mom had remarried six or seven times – he wasn’t sure – and Dad had several live-in girlfriends besides two other marriages. He thought it was remarkable that he’d married and managed to keep it together for over forty years.
Of course, he’d never been close to his parents. Splitting time between Mom and Dad’s households, he’d struck out on his own after graduating high school when he was seventeen, and then married at eighteen. Neither parent had made an effort to stay very close outside of birthday and holiday cards. Mom visited him and his wife one time, after he’d bought the round-trip airline ticket for her, after they’d been married thirty years. Dad had visited once, dropping by their first apartment for a grinning, goofy fifteen minute visit. Two visits between the two parents in more than forty years.
He sighed. Both parents, in their eighties, were in declining health. He knew he’d miss them once they passed away – everyone told him so – but it was hard for him to generate compassion for their situation.
He hated that he had that flaw and couldn’t seem to do anything about it.