Past moments in time are never that far away


Dad & MOM

The past few days my parents have been on my mind. Maybe because Facebook has that deal that shows you past posts or just because it’s July.  I know August is around the corner.

At lunch on Sunday with my entire family I was laughing and joking.  I made a comment about moving in with my kids when I was old and the son-in-laws weren’t too sure about that. I started to say I understood that I wasn’t sure I could live with my parents and it brought me back to the day my Dad died.

 

That morning, while we were alone in his hospital room, he told me that he needed to take me up on my offer.  The offer I had given him a few days before about moving in with us.  I had forgotten that, which surprises me.   I couldn’t stop my eyes from filling with tears but I gathered myself quickly I think.  I had a beautiful baby boy in my arms to look at and hide my tears.  I felt my husband’s hand on my leg for reassurance as well.

Dying Alone

While dancing and singing with my other baby grandson later,  in my home office, I saw the pictures of both my parents from various times in their lives.  The display has a photo of each of my parents holding me when I was a baby, I told G how that was me and continued to dance.  My mother loved to dance.  When I danced with my father at my second wedding we glided across the floor and if I shut my eyes I can still feel it.

The memories are here  in my mind and next to my heart.  Although they may fade they are still inside me.  Tears may have fallen on this day but I’m glad I remembered that memory with my Dad.

Until next time,

Julie

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The 26th – And how it came and went.


Today marks one year since my mother passed away.  I had a restless night of sleep, by morning my anxiety level was pretty high.  I don’t know if it was due to the anniversary of something so hard or the depression or the fact that I’m traveling this weekend.

I’m heading out to  spend the weekend away from home with some girlfriends.  At the time of scheduling the trip I thought it would be a good idea for me to be away from home.  I still feel that way – mostly.  Honestly I always get anxious about traveling due to a medical issue I have.  I know being away from home won’t make me forget but perhaps a nice distraction and opportunity to relax.

After taking my daughter to school I spent the morning in my kitchen.  As I have stated before, cooking seems to be my therapy.  Maybe it calms me because I can control what goes in when and it can be done in a certain order. All the while anticipating something good coming out of my actions.  I don’t have to talk or feel or think of anything else while pouring the ingredients into the metal bowl.  I even thought of my mom while baking the cake.  It wasn’t sad but glad she was such a good cook and baker.  A gift she shared with me.

The weekend away is needed for more than one reason and I know I will enjoy the laughter, comradity, and memories made with my friends.  Although I won’t be able to control the ingredients that will make up this wonderful time, I can participate with as much as I can muster.

church doors

Written later……

The weekend away was enjoyable and good for me.  I felt up and down throughout the weekend.  I haven’t laughed that much for so long.  And I needed that.  The laughter with girlfriends is so very awesome! Thank you to my friends that spent time with me and also listened when I did share my feelings.

I’m actually publishing this on September 3rd, what would have been my mother’s birthday.  But no more birthdays exist for her.  No more angel food cakes or family gathering to celebrate her life.  I did get to spend the morning with my two sisters and visit with my brother on the phone.  That was a good way to spend my day.  A really good way.

Tomorrow is another day.  Another step forward.  Another opportunity to reach for something better, smile more, laugh alot, and hug those around me.  I’m grateful.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

When You Know What’s Coming – August


It’s here.  Year 2.  The anniversary of the death of my Dad.  I wouldn’t say it’s easier this year but it’s different.  I think part of it is that I know what is around the corner.  Last year I had no clue that my pain in the area of death and parents would become so tremendous. I didn’t know that it would bring me to a place where the darkness could almost win out.

Dad & I
He beat cancer. He was being treated for it in this photo.

This year around the corner is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.  One year and nine days after the death of my Dad my mother passed away.  So the days between August 17th and the 26th are ones I am just keeping my head above water so to speak. Oh let me just be honest, the entire month so far hasn’t been easy for me.

I didn’t know that the death of my parents would affect me so much.  I’ve had issues with depression but only once in my life had it ever been at this degree.  At the moment, today it’s been a good day.  I got some very joyous news on the 17th which has kept the darkness at bay. It’s still there underlying but I can function without feeling overwhelmed.  The joyous news doesn’t take away the truth, the hurt, the grief, the depression 100%, but it has brought me to look at things a little differently.  To smile and focus on something spectacular.

Today my dad would have been 77 years old. He died two days before his 75th birthday.  The birthdays have stopped.  The tremendous hugs are gone.  The hearing him tell me I’m “lookin’ good” is only a flicker of memory now.  I have photographs, memories, and time. I’m grateful for the memories and the photographs.

Tomorrow will be spent with extended family.  I’m looking forward to being surrounded by people that loved both my parents as much as me.  I hope we can remember old times and make new memories they’d be proud of.

Today I celebrate the gifts that my Dad gave me.  Rest in peace.

Grace is a gift,

JulieDad Memorial

 

Shopping in My Mom’s Closet


I find it funny that my mother and I wore the same size clothing.  Well, actually I find it ironic that, at a time that I needed new jeans she provided.  As I began looking through her closet I found capris and like new jeans that fit me.  This is truly a blessing as I am to begin a new part-time job and I was in need of jeans for it.  Thank you Mom!

As I made my way through her blouses I could pick out the ones that she wore most often.  She would be sitting in her recliner, playing Free cell or reading a book or watching an old movie while donning them more often than others.  Days of long ago I can see her in the yard working on it while in a sleeveless button shirt.   The older jeans she wore were Wranglers, men’s I’ll tell you.  She always worked like a man and said men’s Wranglers fit her better! 🙂   Her night gowns and house coats were an item of softness.  Upon trying on one of my mother’s blouses it smelled just of her.  Downy and cigarettes.  I know, odd but comforting at the same time now.  Don’t worry, I’ve washed the clothes I brought home. 🙂

I can recall while growing up one particular image of my mother.  Curlers in her hair, normally overnight, but sometimes during the day.  I’d see the black rollers with pink plastic pins holding them in tightly.  She still had them, in her Artex painted canvas bag in the bathroom.

She preferred to roll her hair in curlers but as her back injury got worse she was unable to.  She began to cut  her hair quite short and although she looked pretty, it just wasn’t quite the same for us kids.

Her hair was always parted to the same side, bangs curled.  Her forehead was hardly ever covered up in her life until the last few years.   It’s funny the things that you remember, the things that are memories.

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While shopping in my Mom’s closet it brought back memories. The rest will help another, I hope they feel warmth and comfort in the clothes that were my mothers.
Grace is a gift,

Julie

When your child is grieving and so are you.


Our seven-year old daughter is having a hard time with the recent death of my mother.  Her mindset and emotions are out of whack from her normal happy-go-lucky, easy-going one.   I don’t know why I expected my young child to be able to endure the loss of a beloved grandparent when I am struggling with the loss of my mother.

It comes out in various ways, the snippy attitude, crying in regards to something that she normally wouldn’t, and her need for more hugs from me.  I on the other hand just have a slide show of images that will go through my mind at any given moment of mother.  I will then become quiet and in my own world.  Tears will fall on occasion and other times they flow like a river.  I become overwhelmed easily.   It hasn’t consumed my daily living but it is ever-present.

Today I did just as my own mother probably would have done.  I gathered myself in strength and consoled our daughter while she wept.  I reassured her of the resurrection, of how much her grandmother loved her, and how having this pain is because she loved us so much and vice versa.  We shared memories and just held one another.

Then it was time for me to distract her with something else so the tears could stop and we didn’t wallow in our despair.  It was time to move forward, at least a little bit to accepting that her grandmother wouldn’t be here to watch tv and color with and my mother wasn’t here to call with sewing questions any longer.

mother and daughter Grandaughter and grandma

May the memories cover the mourning with each day.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

The Sun at the End of the Day


Tuesday was one of those days when I was happy all day long.  I know I am supposed to be happy and content with life but let’s face it, I’m not.  I just enjoyed Tuesday so very much I wanted to share on here!  From spending time with friends playing, to devotion on the porch with the kiddo, to watching her blow bubbles for the dog, or then there was just visiting with my spouse for a while.  It was a good day my friends.

Summer fun

I wish I could bottle that and just keep it for those less than stellar days!  I am documenting our #pvjv15summer. My plan is to take at least one photo each day of summer, then share at the end of the summer. I also plan to make a photo scrapbook of them.  So far we have remembered to take at least one photo a day! 🙂

Sitting in the evening sun on this Tuesday evening while I did some embroidery was a perfect ending to the day.  I would stop and just soak in the goodness around me.  The life that God brought me to and through has been one remarkable ride.  I am grateful for the small and big things that bring me and my family joy.

This post was more about me documenting this day for myself.  It may not be inspirational or motivating, but to me it will mean a lot when I read through it later.  Thanks for allowing me to share the good and less than good days with you.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Writing Prompts 2 – Write about a piece of jewelry you own.


Where did it come from? When do you wear it?

The piece of jewelry I have chosen to write about today is a necklace.  It was a gift from my Dad many years ago, sometime in my young adult life I believe.  It is the only piece of jewelry I received from him my entire life.  Although my Dad and I wrote periodically to one another and cards were sent as well, gifts were not a common thing between us.

My necklace is gold with two interlocking hearts.  On the right side of each heart are red stones and then some tiny clear chips as well.  It’s a very pretty and simple necklace.  The last time I wore it was on the day of his memorial service, prior to that it hung in my jewelry box most of the time. Perhaps because I wear more silver than gold now.  As well as the fact that I am pretty particular about how a necklace hangs on me.  The length is important to manage with the neckline.

This gift is special as it’s from a person I loved and I presume because I wasn’t showered with gifts of its kind from him.  But to be honest, the material item isn’t something I feel I must have on me or around me to fill the space he once occupied in my life.  The memories of our time together mean a great deal more.  When I look at the necklace I don’t feel any less saddened by his passing.  This material item doesn’t bring me peace.  It just reminds me that he gave me a nice necklace one time in my life.

I know I meant a great deal to my Dad.  I know he loved me.  I know he appreciated the sacrifice I made to spend as much time as possible with him and to care for him in his last couple weeks.  That.  That gives me peace.  That he knew how much I loved him and that he knew I knew how much he loved me.

Clinging to material items isn’t going to bring a loved one back.  The gift of eternal life is given to all of us, whether we accept that gift is up to us.  It’s in you and me and my Dad and others.  Peace comes to me knowing that my Dad accepted the gift, was baptized, and believed in Jesus Christ.  I know someday we will be together again and the necklace, well who knows where it will be.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Write about a piece of jewelry

My Sister Said It Best


While in a conversation recently with my sisters and a cousin we were discussing our families, how things used to be, and the ache in our hearts of days gone by.  I mentioned that my own children don’t really know their cousins and the days of us gathering once a year passed to long ago.  Two of my children are adults now and as we recently attended a funeral of another cousin (Rest in Peace Terri) it ached me that they didn’t feel connected as I did.  It’s not their fault completely, it’s the fact that many years ago the family took a route I truly believe shouldn’t have.

As I was speaking one of my sisters basically hit the nail on the head in regards to why we feel such a loss has occurred in our lives from the absence of connecting with extended family.  She stated “Don’t you think it’s because we got a taste of it?”  It’s true.  We received a gift of gathering together at least once a year to laugh, sing, hang out, play, and just be together.  My eldest daughter enjoyed a little of it but my middle and youngest daughters have not really any idea.  They only know my siblings children as cousins, not the many more that share the same DNA of sorts. There was a legacy created from my grandparents and is still there to be rejuvenated

I recently began a cousins Facebook private page because I thought it would be a beginning of sorts to reconnect.  A place to begin to build relationships that never existed, that existed some, and introduce the generations ahead to some pretty crazy awesome people!   See I write about family legacy and farm legacy over at In Between the Sunsets of Life often.  That comes from my husband’s family.  I’d like to reconnect and build on the legacy of the family that we have seem to have lost touch with.  I want to hear the stories of days gone by, laugh at sibling’s familiar jokes, and cousin’s pranks on one another.

I hope that my cousins will come along and join the ride to reconnecting and  building a legacy.  That ill feelings, selfish ways, mindless chatter, and petty thoughts will be replaced with love, laughter, support, and good times.  One that our grandchildren and their children can say they got a taste of. I think my grandparents would be proud of the people who exist in their family. Every generation a prized possession and every one of them important. 

Grace is a gift and family is precious – hold tight to them.

Julie

Cousins