They thought they had more time

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I arrived at the church fifteen minutes before the service began and I was ushered into one of the last remaining seats at the back of the church.  The room was full and buzzing with conversation.  At the front of the church was a large picture of the man for whom we had all come to pay our respects and say our goodbyes.

There were several familiar faces and many I did not know.  Some carried on animated exchanges while others sat and prepared for the tears they knew were coming.  The church fell silent and we all rose to greet his wife, his children, his grandchildren and his extended family.

During the service, his children got up to share their memories of their dad and through broken, emotion-soaked voices they gave us another look into the man we all knew and greatly respected.  Before they even spoke, I saw the pain in their faces.  That same pain had been etched into my skin years ago when I lost my parents, my dad in 2006 and my mom, more recently, in 2014.  It is a pain not easily described to those who have not lost a parent.

Although both of my parents were ill leading up to their passing, they both left before I had a chance to say I love you once more because we thought we had more time.  This poor family thought they had much more time but their dad died very unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.  I sat through the service with dry eyes, because to have cried one tear would have opened floodgates that may not have closed.

I sit now writing this post through the tears that I could not shed on Saturday for fear they would not stop.  I think of all the lives he changed for the better.  I think of his countless hours spent doing things for those less fortunate.  I think of the legacy he left behind for us to follow.  And I think of his children who thought they had more time with their dad but never had the chance to tell him “I love you” just one more time.

As someone so astutely pointed out to me on Saturday, we are all given numbers and we never know when ours will be called.  Love deeply, laugh abundantly, share your good fortune with those who go without and don’t ever take for granted the moments to tell the people in your life how you feel about them.  You never know when their, or your, number will be called.

 

 

The day in between

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March 8th had never previously had a profound effect on my life.  It had always been a day like any other.  But three years ago, that day marked the separation between the calendar date that my mother and my father passed away.  Although the losses were separated by almost 8 years, the fact did not go unrecognized that the dates of their individual passing almost overlapped.  March 7th was the third anniversary of my mom’s passing and March 9th will be the 11th anniversary of losing my dad.

Time is a funny thing.  Had those moments not occurred within less than 48 hours of each other, eight years later, that single day on the calendar would go by inconspicuously.  It would still be a day like any other.

arch bridge

But today has become a bridge – a connection that holds the memories of both my mom and my dad in a splendid moment of happiness between the two saddest days of our lives.

Today is the day when their laughter is heard and the thoughts of their smiles are etched in our memories.  Those moments shine above the heartbreak of their losses.  Today is the day that will hold us in its embrace, allowing us to live in the contentment of how wonderful life was when they were both still with us.  And today is the day that we can stand on top of that bridge and not feel the pain of loss on either side.

(image credit)

One thousand and ninety six days

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Three years ago today, March 7th, was the worst day of my life.  I woke up to my cell phone ringing at 7:00 am and the voice on the other end of the phone told me my mother had passed away in her sleep.  We knew she had been ill, but she had been having a great week during the week leading up to her passing so her death came as a shock.

There are still days I get excited to tell her about something that happened and mindlessly reach for the phone to call her.  I’m sure that will never  change.  Below is the poem I wrote and read at her celebration of life.  I miss you mom.

You left us in the early hours,

so peacefully your spirit would roam.

Through a gentle wind and the rising sun,

the angels called you home.

A ladder was built for your journey to light,

each rung meant to make you content.

While bathed in the glowing light of rebirth,

you gracefully began your ascent.

Loving arms awaited  you there,

curling you into their embrace.

Heaven welcomed an angel back home,

 rejoicing her love and her grace.

You leave behind your spirit and joy,

in those who loved you each day.

While our days will be saddened by the emptiness we feel,

we know we will see you someday.

~

Jane Eleanore Nairn – May 21, 1940 – March 7, 2014

 

Don’t be offended, but I am not a fan of the Beetles

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In May of 2014, I bought a young Birch tree and planted it in my mom’s memory.  The tree is just outside of my living room window and, recently, my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews came over to place the river rocks around the tree that we collected at her celebration of life.  Each rock contains a word or two that was written by friends and family to share their memories of our mom.

I have been faithfully watering the tree each day and trying to make sure it thrives in its new home.  Last year I had noticed some of the leaves were beginning to yellow.  Upon closer examination, I also discovered the tree had become home to a bug that I have never seen before and this particular creature loves to devour the greenery and skeletonize the foliage.   Had these pests been named John, Paul, George or Ringo I may have been a little more forgiving, but these Japanese Beetles waged a war that I had sworn to win.

beetles

(image credit: walterspropertyservices.com)

 I diligently tended to my tree at least three times a day to pick these creatures off, one by one, to rid the poor tree of this unnecessary destruction.  Google and the garden center staff seemed to agree that this is the most effective way to eradicate these pesky bugs.  I only hoped that I could put an end to them before they put an end to my tree.

My tree blossomed beautifully again this spring but the creatures are back with a vengeance.  If anyone is going to Japan in the near future, save some room in your luggage.  I would love to send these iridescent insects packing!!

Keeping a piece of you with me

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butterfly

This pendant hangs around my neck,

a talisman of angelic proportion,

to be a gentle reminder of a life that once was.

This simple butterfly

holds the key to my beginning

and serves as a great source of comfort

when I feel like I am falling

into the abysmal chasm of grief.

For this charm holds a piece of you,

of each of you,

and I draw strength knowing that a part of you

will always be with me,

there to give me that sense of your presence

whenever I need it most.

Ashes to ashes

as yours are forever bound to the other.

(image credit)

Two kisses

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sunrise-18a

In the wee hours of the morning,

her visits often happen then,

the charge in the air is palpable

and sleep is still in my head.

Her message hangs heavily in the air,

the words are always the same.

“Two kisses I will give you,

to help get you through your day.

 One kiss is to give you courage,

to help you save the world.

The other kiss is to help protect you

from the curve balls that life will hurl”.

Her words soothe me and give me peace

in the last moments of my sleep.

And on my cheeks, as I face the world,

two kisses I shall keep.

~~

This was the poem in my head at 4:00 am.  I will be forever grateful for those kisses.  I miss you mom.

(image credit: santabanta.com)

Peace in pieces

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piece of my heart

Patiently I await a peace in my heart,

wanting to no longer feel bereft.

But sadly there is a piece of my heart,

you took with you when you left.

Stories I want to share with you

now fall on invisible ears.

The longing to hear your reaction

only reduces me to tears.

I know somehow you hear me,

you know exactly what I have to say.

And I know you well enough to know

you’re with me every step of the way.

My heart continues to beat as it should

but an echo can be heard from within.

Only the healing of time can restore my peace

and put back that piece that fits in.

~

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