It’s Father’s Day this Sunday and I’ve got my Papa on my mind.
The 26th of this month will mark the 2 year anniversary of losing him, and although I don’t want focus on his death, it’s hard not to think about it when the date rolls around, and that last Father’s Day we had him with us is really etched in my memory because he passed away the following Sunday.
He was in hospice care here at home, and we had recently needed to bring him downstairs (out of his bedroom) to be in a hospital type bed so that we could better tend to his needs as his health was declining. He was having more and more times of being pretty much out of it because of the increasing doses of morphine he was on to help ease his pain, so it was far from Father’s Day as usual.
It hadn’t been planned, but a nurse came by that day to give him a sponge bath. Although he had his eyes closed the majority of the time, I could tell he was enjoying it, especially while she was washing his hair. It always feels good to be clean and freshen up a bit no matter what condition we’re in, doesn’t it? God bless hospice workers…
My sis had taught my daughter how to operate my Dad’s lawn mower, so she mowed the lawn for her Grandpa for Father’s Day. And even though he couldn’t say so, I know he appreciated it. She mowed the lawn here just yesterday and it really brought back those memories.
Living here now with my mom there are regular reminders of my Dad all the time, and we take those moments as they come. Sometimes it’s completely out of the blue that we’ll find ourselves sobbing at something random and missing him, and sometimes it’s more intentional. Like I intentionally brought in some Lily of the Valley from the yard when they were blooming earlier this spring and placed them near his urn. They were in bloom right around the time that he went into hospice and I would come by every day and bring some in to him. I remember him holding them up to his nose and inhaling their lovely scent and the look on his face. You know, sometimes there’s not much you can do for people when they’re suffering, and everything seems so empty and useless, but I do think that smelling those Lily of the Valley brought some joy to my Dad even in his difficult situation, and I’m glad I was able to do even just that small gesture for him. ♥
I never took the opportunity to have a serious talk with him about life and death and such things while he was dying, and I regret that a bit now, but I wanted to be a joy to him at the time and not make him have to talk about the heavy stuff. Although, I did tell him he needn’t worry about my mom because I would see to it that she was taken care of. To which he scoffed and said “you don’t have a pot to piss in, how are you going to take care of mom?” I had just recently lost everything; my marriage, my house, my job, the majority of my belongings, and it was true I didn’t have a “pot to piss in” (hah, my dad and his expressions), but I meant I’d take care of her in more than just a financial way. And I believe I have done that. Told you I would, Pops. 😉
I don’t know where my Dad is now, but I like to think that he’s somehow aware of everything I’m doing here and that it pleases him in some way. My Dad wasn’t a perfect man or Father, far from it, but he was mine, and I wouldn’t have wanted any other.
I miss him so much.
This Father’s Day I have plans to get his stereo system all set up. When my daughter and I moved in, my Dad’s stereo got moved to another spot in the living room and I haven’t yet gotten to the task of hooking it all back up again. It’s farther away from the speakers than it was before so I may have to run out and get some speaker wire, but hopefully I can get it all hooked up by Sunday.
My thought in doing this is to have the stereo on all day continuously playing some of my Dad’s favorite music. I think that’s a wonderful way to honor him and keep the day alive with his spirit for Father’s Day.
The music of Henry Mancini reminds me of him the most, and this song in particular…
“One tear in the driving rain, One voice in a sea of pain Could the Maker of the stars Hear the sound of my breakin’ heart? One life, that’s all I am Right now I can barely stand If You’re everything You say You are Won’t You come close and hold my heart.”
I woke up the other morning with bright light pouring in through my bedroom windows. After a night of restless sleep, I had slept in a bit late, so the morning sun had well risen in the sky and was shining brightly.
As I sat up in bed I noticed my shadow reflected upon the wall from the light coming in through the window. I sat there for the longest time looking at it, thinking about how “shadowed” my heart feels right now. And looking at my dark image there, I let the darkness seep inside of me too. I let myself go to that dreadful place where there is no light, no hope, deep heartache, alone-ness. I didn’t like it there. And it’s not me, for in my truest heart I am a child of the Light. Of Joy and of Hope.
That is why this is such a difficult place for me to be in. I don’t belong here, in this sad place. Except I can’t deny this is where I am right now, and I have to allow myself to feel. I can’t pretend that I don’t hurt.
But… the thing about shadows is… they are only made possible because of the light, a shadow can’t exist without the light. So if there is a shadow, there is most assuredly also light.
A contrast of varied emotions fill my heart as I look at this photo of my shadowed reflection there upon the wall. Feelings of sadness, heartache, and loss, but also of hope ~ for light is surely still shining upon me in this darkness to even be casting this shadow. I have only to turn around to see it. Instead of looking at my shadow, I will turn and face the toward the Light.
And just look at what beautiful, glorious light is on the other side. This was the sky this morning…
“No matter how deep the darkness, a light shines within.” – Kingdom Hearts
I know it seems somewhat cliche’ to start talking about the importance of family when the holidays start rolling around, but that’s exactly what is on my mind.
Not only are Thanksgiving, Christmas and then New Years going on during this time of year, but my mom, my sis, and my dad also have their birthdays around this time too, so there has always been even more family togetherness going on during the holidays for me.
It will greatly embarrass my mom for me to blow the whistle on our ‘perfect family’ cover by leaking out this top secret information… but I must admit my little family is a bit damaged and broken at best. I suppose this just very well may be the case for most families these days considering society, the world at large, and human nature being what they are. But we always try to cover it up to appear ‘normal’ (whatever that is). Maybe I should be a more private person and not air all of my dirty laundry out in public for all the world to see, but I’ve never been one for trying to portray an ‘image.’ What is the use in that? In order to connect on any real level with others out there in the world, you need to be real. I do however, need to be respectful of my family’s privacy and be careful not to share all of their dirty little secrets while I’m sharing my own. 😉
Not that we really have any of those, it’s not like we have a mass murderer in the family that we are trying to hide (of course I’d say this even if we did though wouldn’t I? ;)). But even despite our bit of dysfunction, there is tons and tons of love here and I wouldn’t want any other people as my family other than this crazy lot I’ve been thrown in with.
But all joking aside, I suppose that apart from all the birthdays and the holidays going on, the reason family is so much on my mind is because I am realizing more and more every day just how very fragile and precious life is, and our dear families and loved ones are at the very heart of it all. My aunt passed away a few days ago (on my mom’s birthday) and although I wasn’t particularly close with her, she was my family and I loved her, my heart is breaking for my cousins and my uncle right now. In having my dad pass away just a year ago this past June, that sense of loss is still very much a fresh wound for me too. It would have been his 84th birthday next week. Gosh I miss him. We really do need to cherish the time we have with our precious families because they could be taken away from us in an instant.
My mom can really get under my skin like no other, and can frustrate the ever lovin’ crap outta me. But that being said, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love her, how truly grateful I am to have her as my mom (mistakes in raising me and all), how very much I appreciate everything she is and has done for me, and… how utterly lost I would be without her.
Try and cherish your family no matter what your family situation is. I’m sure there are likely many families out there who are in very difficult circumstances. Sadly, my own brother is estranged from our family at the moment, but in the meantime I will still love him from afar, pray for him, and hope that one day things will be better. And I will cherish the other precious ones in my family that I still do have…
Here’s my “bunch of crazies” 😉
and my crazy offspring, the most precious thing in this world to me…
“Gotta have my pops” is an old slogan from the 80’s from a commercial for Corn Pops cereal, but right now the pops I gotta have isn’t cereal… it’s my actual Pops, my Dad.
Only thing is… I can’t have my Pops. He passed away last June. This is my first Father’s Day without him.
If he were still here he’d be acting all grumpy about Father’s Day because he wouldn’t like all the attention and fuss (but it would only be acting because even though it made him a little uncomfortable… he secretly liked all the lovins). He’d let us kids come over and visit him for a little while and do the Father’s Day thing, and then he’d shoo us away so he could watch TV. But I wouldn’t buy it and I’d stay, because I’m the youngest and a little pest, and I’m a rebel and don’t obey my parents. 😉
Gosh I miss him. My world has been so different without my Papa in it. It’s been a huge adjustment for my whole family, especially for my mom. But we are managing. What else can ya do except deal as best as ya can?
On his birthday last December I wrote up a post about my Dad ~ Reflections of my Pops where I shared a bunch of favorite photos and things about him, and for Father’s Day I am copying and pasting the majority of that post onto this one. So for those of you who have been following my blog for a while and have already seen it, please forgive the repeat…
Below is one of my all-time favorite photos of my Dad. It was a beautiful, perfect, summer day spent at my favorite place in Minnesota ~ Lake Superior. Dad was skipping rocks when my mom snapped this photo of him. The entire shoreline is littered with them, as you can see. And that’s my daughter in the background wading in the water. She’s 20 now so this photo is from quite a while ago, but I still remember the day. It was a good day. A happy time. And my Dad looks handsome. ♥
Where as the above photo was of my Dad on a warm summer day…. here is one taken during the glory of winter. It’s also one of my favorite photos of him. One thing about living in Minnesnowta is it SNOWS. Sometimes a lot! And my Dad always took such good care of clearing his walkways whenever it snowed. He was actually quite the “ants in his pants” about it! His hair matches the snow. ♥ He had such a gorgeous head of hair…~
Omygosh if there is one thing I’ll always remember the most about my Dad… it’s that he LOVED riding bicycle! He would ride miles and miles a day, all around the city ~ through downtown Minneapolis along Nicollet Avenue. He was a common fixture around town riding his bike and people even recognized him. He was a friendly fellow with a bright, wonderful smile. ♥~
He’s not exactly “smiling” here, but I adore this silly expression on his face! This picture was taken on one of his birthdays some years ago. Clearly he is being silly about the new hat and gloves he received. And see how he’s in his pajamas? That is another thing about my Dad ~ whenever he was at home and not planning on going out anywhere, he was always in his jammies. As my Mom and I were going through some of his things a while back, I asked for a couple sets of his jammies that we came across. I’m wearing them as I write this. ♥~
Here is another precious photo. This was taken at my daughter’s graduation in 2010. My Dad was very involved in my daughter’s life. He was such a good Papa. Over the years as she was growing up, he rarely missed a program, concert or recital of hers. ♥~
I love this one of my adorable parents being cute and cozy on my brother’s couch. They were married for 52 years. ♥~
If I had a halfway decent recent photo of my Dad and I together, I would post it next, but I don’t, so this one will have to do. It’s from another Duluth/Lake Superior trip The little boy in it with us is my punk nephew. I could have cropped him out to make it a photo of just me and my Pops, but when I did that and used it as my Facebook profile picture, my nephew cried foul so I left him in this time. 😉~
Thanks for letting me share a bit about my Pops on this Father’s Day. I love him and miss him more than I can say..
I created this blog primarily just to express myself by writing about whatever random stuff happens to come to mind on any given day. Over time I suppose it may morph into something more specific, but for now it's just my various ramblings. Thank you so much for stopping by and wherever your day leads today ~ I hope it's to a happy place! :)