My birthday was nearly six months ago. At some point during my birthday week, I went to my mother’s. My sister handed me a large gift bag. I removed the tissue and found this, along with a poem she had written, and a very sweet card.
When he was working in her nursery, this is the hat that my dad wore the most. As I pulled it out of the bag, my sister told me that when she found it she knew that it was meant for me. I cried as I stuffed it all, the hat, the poem, and the card all back into the bag. It was just too much. It was too emotional for me. We went on about our day.
I texted her later and told her how much I appreciated the gift. I apologized for not acknowledging how special the gift was when I opened it. She said she understood. That she had held it to her face, inhaled my father’s scent, and cried when she found it. But she knew it was mine. That’s an example of the wonderful relationship my sister and I have.
In August, my father will be gone for 20 years. He was a wonderful father and a very proud grandfather. When you lose someone, yes your heart eventually heals and life goes on. But there is a big scar on your heart. Occasionally that wound is ripped open and your heart has to heal again.
I miss my dad so, so much. I miss his great big smile. I miss his laughter. I miss his hugs and kisses. I miss his early morning phone calls on my birthday. I miss his roar of “Katy, my darling!” as I walked into a room where he was sitting. I miss sharing all of the things that have happened over the last 20 years.
How proud he would be of his family. His buttons would fly off his shirt with pride when he saw the wonderful adults that all of his grandchildren had become. He would be wrapped around Henry’s little finger. He would be caring and thoughtful of my mother as she walks this path that she is on. He would be especially proud of my sister and the way that she cares for my mother.
He has missed so much. That’s the hard thing about losing a loved one.
My life is filled with commuting, working, cleaning, and an abundance of other chores. The free time that I do have seems to slip through my fingers like sand in an hour glass. I’m always going to do that one thing “tomorrow”. I’ll start organizing my house tomorrow. I’ll start exercising tomorrow. I’ll start eating better tomorrow. I’ll spend more time with my mother next month. We’ll visit with Lila next month. I’ll spend time with cousins and aunts and uncles this Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter. We’ll take all those trips when we retire.
It seems all my life I’ve been waiting on tomorrow. My fear is that when tomorrow comes I’ll be doing another load of laundry and planning another tomorrow that doesn’t come. I have a 15 month old great nephew and a 7 week old grand daughter that I fear will not know me. Doug has family that I love and enjoy spending time with. But they live across the country and we plan on spending time with them “some day”. My mother has Alzheimer’s and my days with her are slipping away.
I am married to a man that I love. He is a wonderful, loving, provider. Our goal is early retirement. But he is a homebody and loves being here. I can hear the sound of the four wheeler taking him somewhere right now. We have 50 acres and he loves doing his thing here. I love working along side him here. But sometimes this distance and this place feels like a millstone around my neck.
There are times I feel isolated and disconnected from those that matter to me. The sadness and discouragement spills over me and pulls me down. Today is one of those days.
Time to gather the tax receipts for the farm and organize them for the tax lady. Maybe after I get that done we can make plans to do something fun next weekend.
So far this has been a rough year for Doug and I and a lot of others as well. We lost Doug’s mother in March and I also lost my Aunt Mary (my father’s youngest sister) around the same time. Doug lost an uncle and I recently lost an uncle as well. All loved members of our families.
Sometimes death comes quickly and unexpectedly. Sometimes love ones suffer from an illness that lets you know that death is hanging around waiting patiently. But regardless of how death appears, we are never really ready. Even with a long term disease we can never be truly ready to say good bye.
But what I do know is that the time is now to let those you love and care about know how you feel. People need to know that they are valued. If you feel the need to let someone know what they mean to you or what influence they’ve had on your life, DO IT!!! Write a letter, send an email, pick up the phone. Do it for yourself. Never let a day pass holding back words that you feel the need to express.
When someone we love receives a diagnosis that leads to a downhill roll into disability and finally death, we have proof that we need to say the things that need to be said to them. But we need to recognize this fact in our dealings with all of those that we love.
When we end a visit, a phone conversation, or whatever the circumstance might be, we never really know what will happen between the end of that encounter and the next. When your better half leaves for the day, do they truly understand how much they mean to you. Do your children and grandchildren know how proud you are of them?
I’m not talking about just “saying the words”. Write it down. In this electronic age that we live in I think its important to take pen to paper and let them know. Nothing is worse than attending a funeral and hearing someone say “I wish I had told them.”
Most of the ones we see along the highways are from a traffic accident. I can sort of understand the initial placement of the tribute. Its fresh, raw, and very real. Maybe the loved ones want to warn others of the danger. Maybe there are skid marks and other indications of an accident and they want people to know “Yes someone lost their life here.”
The three that I pass every morning have been there for years. One is on Jacksboro Highway just outside of Azle as I drive into Fort Worth. That highway is being revamped and widened, yet somehow the two crosses are still there and during the summer someone mows around them. The crossover where these teenagers were killed isn’t even there any more. There is another one further out towards my home that has crosses and an iron bench to sit on. During the summer, maybe a birthday, someone puts out balloons. This is actually very close to someone’s driveway.
I just don’t understand why you would want to commemorate someone’s life in that manner. At the place where they lost their life. I don’t think I could find comfort returning over and over to the scene of where my loved one lost their life.
I enjoy going to the cemetery. I find comfort in visiting my father’s, my grandparents’, and even my great grandparents’ last resting place. They are all together in the same place. I know they aren’t actually there. But for whatever reason I find comfort in the peacefulness of a cemetery.
I know in today’s economy not everyone has the luxury of burying their loved ones in a cemetery that they can visit. So many are cremated. But why wouldn’t you make some kind of small memorial in your home for them. Why wouldn’t you visit places that bring back happy memories of them. I have a friend that lost a loved one this year. She built a deck onto her house and placed a memorial marker in remembrance of her friend. What a wonderful tribute!! Now she can sit outside on her deck, enjoy a beverage, and remember her friend.
Losing someone in such a tragedy is terrible. I just don’t understand the fixation on the scene of the accident. I hope that I never do.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day to day drudge of our own lives that someone can pass quietly out of their own and we don’t even realize it. I learned this weekend that a childhood friend had lost her battle with cancer. She was someone that I had been really good friends with in elementary school. When we started middle school we didn’t have classes together and like everyone else at that age, we made new friends. I think later she moved and transferred to another school.
We had reconnected on Facebook. To be honest with you when I got the friend request, the name was familiar and that was about it. But she was kind enough to write to me about some of her memories of Riverside Elementary and then all my memories came flooding back. Its strange sometimes how your mind works. Some things about elementary, middle, and high school I can remember vividly and some things have faded away and I have no recollection of them. That is, until someone else starts talking about something and they mention a name or something that happened and it triggers my memory and it all comes flooding back.
I have to admit I was disappointed with myself when I found out she was gone. I knew she was very sick and fighting the battle of her life. I intended to call her, to communicate with her more. But I also didn’t want to intrude upon her at such a difficult time. But even though we had only reconnected in the last year or year and a half, I felt a sense of guilt. But then I realized that the guilt of not having more contact with her was a little self-centered on my part.
I’ve had sort of a rough Summer. I have felt disconnected and at times forgotten. Sometimes, even a little sorry for myself. I have taken offense at perceived slights and distanced myself from people in general. But I’ve come to realize that this all dwells in my mind. I’m very much connected to people. I’ve always been introverted. Not anti-social, just shy I guess. There are times still, when after a conversation, I will kick myself mentally over and over again. Sometimes I think I say too much.
I can focus on a passing comment from someone for days on end. Then realize that it was just a comment and there is no underlying meaning to it. I have spent the last 49 years worrying about what people think of me. I think life is short. We or those we love can be gone in a blink of an eye. So I think I will spend the next 49 years laughing more, trying to be less guarded, try to learn not to hold a grudge, listen more, watch the tone of my voice, and cutting people a little slack. I will try to cut myself some slack too.