Posted on Nov 23, 2017 in Blog |

Five years ago, Stephen had surgery on his shredded collarbone the day after Thanksgiving. He was miserable that entire holiday.

Another Thanksgiving, Joey had strep throat and Jeff stayed home with him instead of joining the rest of the family. We brought leftovers, but . . .

One Christmas, a relative’s oven broke and the turkey was not cooked completely – some guests didn’t realize until they had eaten some.

On our wedding day, the airlines canceled our flight and we had to rush to the airport to catch another flight. We were in the back of the limo eating our dinner with our fingers b/c the caterer forgot to include utensils. We spent hours in the Tampa airport trying to get to Ft. Myers.

The Christmas before Stephen was born, I was on bedrest for ten weeks – I could only get vertical to shower every other day and to use the bathroom.

On New Year’s Eve, 2014, Jeff’s dad died at 12:30 in the afternoon.

On Good Friday, 2016, Dad died at 5:55 am.

Not all holidays have good memories attached to them. Some can develop into funny stories later on (like our wedding day mishap). But some don’t. Sometimes a big family argument breaks out; sometimes you wonder why you are even surrounding yourself with this group of people.

It’s all ok.

A wise friend said to me, “Lower your expectations; raise your acceptance.”

So Stephen was miserable that holiday. He was alive and his collarbone healed (with the help of a few screws and a plate).

Joey healed from the strep throat.

I can’t bring back our parents, but I can tell funny stories about warm memories I have of them. I can hang ornaments on my tree that remind me of our loved ones.

Life goes on and we do the best we can with what we have.

Today, I went to a fancy restaurant with a slipper on because I think I tore a tendon in my heel yesterday. I could barely walk. But I went and I had fun.

Stephen wore one of Dad’s suit jackets to today’s festivities. In a weird way, it made me feel as though Dad was a part of the celebration.

Actually, I know Dad was there. I could feel his spirit, his joy. Dad LOVED family meal times. He LOVED family gatherings with food. And today, even though he has died, his soul still rejoices when we gather for special occasions.

Both of my sisters were there, Gayle and Ken came in from Colorado for the weekend. It’s been awhile, so it was good to see them both.

And now, it’s food coma time. My foot still hurts a lot, so I’m taking ibuprofen and keeping it elevated and iced (thanks to hubby Jeffrey on the ice factor).

I’ve shed a few tears this afternoon, missing Dad.

At the restaurant, Stephen was cutting Mom’s meal (she is a stroke survivor and has a tough time with cutting). The waiter very quickly, quietly, and efficiently took the plate, and cut everything within seconds so he could then serve Stephen his plate.

That moment of kindness, of compassion, of whatever you want to call it, brought tears to some of us at the table.

It’s the little things that make us miss Dad the most – like when he used to cut Mom’s meals for her.

Yes, I think I need a nap. I am tired from the foot pain and from the pain of grief.

Indeed, I am grateful for many things. I have made gratitude lists for years on a daily basis as I believe gratitude to be the core of recovery and thriving.

I am also keeping it real, especially for those I know who feel alone, abandoned, threatened, afraid, unsure, unloved. I do not want to deny their perception of where they sit today.

Know this: in the past two years, I have found my times of waiting, of aloneness, of uncertainty, of fear, of uncertainty . . . these times are the periods when God is preparing me for something far greater than I could have imagined. So I wait with faith and hope.

I wait knowing that when I am ready, God will bring me to the next phase, the next step. And that next phase is going to be amazing.