Although I am not with her, today I am celebrating the birthday of my daughter, Julia. As I scrolled through multiple pictures of her it was easy for me to recognize why I love her and am blessed to share life with her.
Of course, I am her mom and have a fair amount of bias. There are a lot of “mom pics” in the album I’ve made. But most of the photos are of Julie with the family at large, with her Cambodian “sisters and brothers”, with her clients and their animals, with her own menagerie of four legged friends, Julie being silly, enjoying the outdoors, Julie being Julie. The smile is always present and gives the impression of coming on easily and quickly. She is connected. She is involved.
I’ve seen her when she isn’t at her most glorious, when her dishes aren’t washed, when she doesn’t feel well, when she’s depressed, when she’s overwhelmed with her complex life, having a bad hair day, in trouble at work… all those things that happen to us all. I still like her. I always love her. I admire her resiliency and her ability to work through to better times. If I were a captain choosing my team, I would pick her.
So today, thank you for keeping yourself in my life Julie. I am grateful for your friendship and all the wonderful opportunities you give me to talk, to laugh, to work, TO HAVE FUN! I am forever on your side and you are forever in my prayers.
That’s roughly how long it has been since my father died. November 16th, today, would have been the end of his 87th year.
There are many things I have enjoyed doing, and I plan or hope to do them again. And there are people I love and enjoy that I plan on seeing again. It’s possible I may not do those things, or see those people, but since I don’t know that, I don’t even think down that road. Death however, is different. As Mom put it, “you know he’s not coming back”. You know your experience of that person on earth is over. Final. Done. You know.
That sadness of missing someone is so much like wave action. It’s suddenly there with a force that catches me off guard. Since I wasn’t living close enough to see Dad on an every day basis, it’s not as bad for me. In fact, my days are very much like they were when he was alive. It’s when I look at the pictures of last Thanksgiving and other visits home that it’s very real to me. He’s right there, washing the dishes, watching the Packer game, sleeping in his recliner. This will be the first year without him and I know it will be a bit difficult.
But what have the last six months done for me?
I realize what a planner Dad was. He saved and set aside what was needed for Mom to continue without making drastic changes in her manner of living. It was a gift, and now we know what it is like to receive that blessing.
I realize that I’m not just missing the person Dad was the day before he died. I miss the entirety of his life and all that I remember about him.
I recognize the parts of him, the habits, the attitudes that I’m probably going to perpetuate in my own behavior and I have an oddly protective stance toward those parts.
I resolve to be mindful of my relationships and the time spent on them. I am so thankful for the extra visits home I was able to make the last couple of years. They were so worth it.
Lastly, I realize how much 60+ years of marriage can affect someone, and how much my Mom is missing Dad. I want to make sure that she knows others are remembering and missing him too. I want her not to feel alone.
I haven’t posted much lately. Everything I write sounds strange and awkward to me. I’ve decided it’s a stage and it will probably pass, so I’m not worried. But I couldn’t let November 16th pass without acknowledging Dad’s birthday. I might also add that any sorrow I have is purely earthly, not eternal.
My Mom loves to garden. I call her Grandma sometimes because I have talked to my children about her for years and years. She is their grandma, my mom, Gwendolyn Boone Smith. Gwendolyn who never had a middle name and didn’t need one because her first name was long enough for two. Grandma keeps saying […]