Thanks for starting this thread! And my thoughts are with you. My dad died in April 1996, a few months after we had moved to Hawaii. He lived in Sweden but spent 6 months every winter in southern Spain (Fuengirola), and I would typically only get to see him once a year (either in Spain or in Sweden). He outlived my mom by 17 years but had a "girl friend" for the last 16 years, or so. Something I can highly recommend for those of you who still have one or both of your parents still living is to start a "tradition" of doing something special with just ONE of your parents. (But obviously do it with both of them - just not at the same time!!). For the last 15 years or so, whenever I met my dad, I would take him out for lunch or dinner, just the two of us. Initially, his girlfriend probably wondered why she couldn't be included, but she quickly understood that our get-togethers were no threat to her, and accepted it. The conversations I had with my dad (even though they were certainly not "confidential" in any way - i.e. we didn't talk about anything that would have been a secret to his girlfriend) would never have taken place if it hadn't been for the fact that it was just the two of us. The dynamics are just very different when you're with someone and it's just the two of you, but I think most of us feel that we want to be "inclusive" and (for instance) have dinner with BOTH our parents. Based on my experience, big mistake! (Of course, the best thing is to do BOTH!).
Edit: needless to say, I would recommend this approach for any close relationship. If you have more than one sibiling, for instance, start a tradition of having lunch with each of them. Just the two of you (no spouses). But one at a time. And make it clear WHY you want to do this, because obviously whoever isn't the first one could get the wrong idea!
PS to Len - couldn't help but smile when I read your post. I'll be 65 next month. But I wasn't planning on getting old for a while. A long while...!