The Circle Is Complete

Nov 11, 2010 by

As readers know, the Little Black Dress has had a tough three years or so slowly watching her parents fail – physically and mentally.

You want to go in and fix it, but you can’t. Time takes its toll. We are helpless, at least to some degree. Eventually, the LBD and her brother had to step in and she stood by her brother in court as they sought emergency, and eventually, full guardianship for her parents.

Her mom, known as Mimi to all the grandkids, and one of the sweetest people I knew, died last summer. The effects of Alzheimer’s and other issues finally had their day.

And this morning, The Dress learned her dad joined her mom. 

Milton O. Carlin died with his boots on, so to speak. The caregivers said he had a great day yesterday, watching a John Wayne movie and smiling throughout.  For someone who was once a dirt poor kid from Oklahoma, he couldn’t do much better than something starring the Duke.

Papa, as the Sons of Thunder called him, was a self-made man.  He was very proud of the “Dr.” before his name. You see, at a young age, he and his older brother decided to become veterinarians. When it was time, Papa worked the oil fields to put his brother through school. When his brother was set up in his practice, he put Papa through school.

For nearly 50 years he perfected his craft – delivering and taking care of every type of animal known; including a few snakes and even a tiger.

Yet the mind plays funny tricks as we age, tricks that are hard to deal with. Mimi’s body just imploded; she physically wasted away. Papa, despite two heart attacks before he was 50, was actually in fairly good health. His problem was he was losing all short-term memory.

Short-term as in he would come home from work for lunch and be surprised we were there – despite the fact we’d been there for two days. And the same scenario would repeat at dinner. And sometimes at breakfast. It’s hard to forget the Sons of Thunder.

He could be a little crusty at times, and he worked too hard and for too long. But he loved his wife, he loved his son and he loved his daughter.

And I am forever in his debt. Because he was the one who said “her mother and I” when the minister asked who was actually going to let The Dress marry me. Dad No. 2 didn’t even hesitate.

I owe him that.

I got the call in the car on the way to taking the eldest Son to school. He’s pretty sharp and figured something big happened. So I explained as best I could, and he seemed okay.

“So now he can go back to dancing with Mimi,” he said, more as a statement than a question.

Yes. Yes he can.




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  1. it’s amazing to have a son “get it” like that. our prayers are with you, your wife and family.

    thad (my2fish)

  2. Medium Black Dress

    Thanks for sharing the journey. It continues from generation to generation…love and hugs to you both. – Suzanne


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