Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Ted’s father. We’ll be going to visit his grave and honor his memory. It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years already. Pops was born in Guyana, came to the United States for college, went to medical school and became a doctor. He returned to Guyana for a few years, married Ted’s mom, and they moved to England so he could study ophthalmology there. When life in Guyana got to be a little crazy (independence in the works), he got a job at a Kaiser hospital in California. The immigration rules at the time were pretty strict, and they were unable to come right away, so they spent a couple of years living in Ontario, Canada, which is where Ted was born. Finally in 1965, the immigration rules loosened up a bit, and the family emigrated to California in 1966.
Pops worked at Kaiser for many years, and was a successful ophthalmologist, until his retirement in the 80s following his first stroke. I first met him in 1988, when he was retired. He was always very kind to me, though sometimes he was a bit difficult to talk to. He wrote a book about his life, Man From Guyana, and sometimes when I was trying to make conversation with him, I’d ask him about some period in his life. The answer was, “It’s in my book.” I didn’t know if that was because he wanted me to read the book, if he was having memory issues, or if he just didn’t want to talk about it. In any case, it did sort of put an end to the conversation.
Ted and I were married in 1993, and I am so glad that Pops was alive to see his youngest son get married. He was very proud of his children, and it gave him joy to see them happy. I do wish he had lived to see Maya. He was very fond of his grandchildren, Maya’s older cousins.
Today we’ll go to visit his grave, and Ted will make a dinner in his honor. Pops liked “old white people food”, like creamed corn and Sanka, so we’ll see what we end up with. He loved lemon meringue pie, but neither Ted nor I do, so I’m hoping that won’t end up on the menu.
Between seeing my Grandma and Great Aunt yesterday, my friend’s grandmother’s funeral, and now the anniversary of Pops’ death, I’m thinking a lot about aging and health and death. A weighty subject, to be sure.