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  • If you could ask my mother what she wanted most in life, visiting Europe would be near the top of the list. For as long as I can remember, she dreamt of going to Europe. So when Alice, my brother's wife, won a scholarship to teach in Germany, Mom said she would visit. She made reservations, but never went.

    Two weeks after she told me she was planning to go, she died in a car accident near her home in San Diego. I lost my father shortly afterward in an L.A. hospital. At the time, I regretted I hadn't visited them more often, and that they would never see me get married, nor see my children. But now when I think about it, I think about the trip to Europe.

    My father had retired years earlier, but that didn't change their lives much. After living a certain way your whole life, why change suddenly? They were saving for retirement even after they retired. When I think about my mother, her dreams and her sacrifices, there are times my stomach clenches up and I curse audibly. Damn. God damn it.

    A year later, I received a sizable inheritance check. I would have traded it for the memory of her happily showing photos of her first trip to Europe.
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