Scattered showers.

No, it isn’t a weather forecast. It is what my wife, Nancy, calls her periodic spells of crying that pop up whenever she thinks of her parents, who are both now deceased, sorts through piles of photographs that include those of her mother and father, or happens across some little remembrance of them.

Nancy’s mother, Glenda, passed away in early December, 2018. Her father, Don, died a little more than two months ago in late October so the ache associated with his death is still quite sharp.

Don and Glenda were great parents, loving their four children with all their heart. With parents like my bride was blessed with, I certainly understand why she would be missing them so much. Truth be told, I miss Nancy’s mom and dad, and I was just an in-law, although I was never treated like one despite being the first to remove one of their “chicks from the nest.”

Because I recognize how special Don and Glenda were, I certainly understand why Nancy mourns her parents and likely will until she is reunited with them one day in Heaven. Consequently when I am confronted with a “scattered shower” I do not spout the doctrine of “suck it up and get on with life.” Instead I lend a shoulder for her to cry on, regardless of how damp my shoulder winds up being.

As I mentioned earlier, any number of things can trigger a “scattered shower.” Going into her parents’ house when it was still full of items that had been collected over their 60-plus years of marriage could be the cause of a “shower.” Going into her parents’ house after most of the furniture had been removed and the closets had been emptied could trigger a “shower” as well. I’m sure the process of picking out items to bring back to Hannibal that had belonged to her parents was a challenge to do with tear-filled eyes.

Because Don and I had similar builds I have inherited a few items of clothing, namely a pair of sweatpants and some pajamas. While I have already worn the sweats and PJs, one piece of clothing that found its way into a suitcase bound for Northeast Missouri that I will never try on is a clown outfit that Nancy had made for her father several years ago.

In a move I certainly did not see coming, following his retirement from the Social Security Administration, Nancy’s father announced that he was going to take up being a clown as a hobby.

He went all in, wearing makeup, a rainbow wig, oversized shoes and the colorful overalls that Nancy’s talented hands had sewn together for him.

I do not think Don’s clown career was particularly long lived since all the makeup he had to put it on his face reportedly did not agree with his skin. However, those for whom he performed, mostly his grandchildren and youngsters at the church he attended, enjoyed his routine.

When Nancy agreed to make his clown outfit Don requested that it include several pockets of varying sizes in which he could keep many of the “tricks” that he utilized in his performance.

When Nancy happened upon her father’s clown outfit hanging in a closet following his death, many of the pockets were still full of items he had used. Among them was a piece of wood. Written on one side were the words “C who God loves.” On the flipside was attached a mirror.

As Nancy was placing the mirror back in its correct pocket, she noticed when a 5 by 7 fell from the pocket and fluttered to the floor. On the card were written two words, “bye bye.”

“It was as if he was saying goodbye one last time,” she said before being overwhelmed emotionally by a clown’s fond farewell and the “scattered shower” it started.

Recommended for you