by Mary Denman
A couple of weekends ago, I got to go visit my dad. The visit wasn't as long as I could have wanted, but Daddy and I had a good time. And just being around him taught me how to better weather the storm of grief and loss that our family finds ourselves in since we lost our mom and he lost his beloved wife of 60 years in May of 2013. You could say that I learned a life lesson from my dad.
Before we arrived, Daddy called me to tell me he had a map of the US and wanted me to help him mark up all the places he and mom had been. I sat on the floor with a highlighter and he sat looking at an atlas, calling out places they had traveled over all their married years. It was so much fun remembering.
All the trips to visit us 6 kids who were spread out all over the US. Going to Nova Scotia with one of their grandsons. Flying to Germany and Switzerland. Once to see Hawaii. "We were blessed," dad says.
And that's when it hit me that Daddy knows how to handle the grief of losing Momma. He absolutely misses her, but tempers that by saying how thankful he is that she said, "Yes." By remembering all the trips they took over the years. He looks back on their life with real and genuine thankfulness.
We also had a good time watching all the birds after I filled the feeders outside the family room window. Daddy put on a program about Italy on the TV since my husband and I had traveled there last April. I would comment on the places we went and take pictures of the birds at the same time.
We just sat and watched the show for about an hour. And what a special hour it was. I love sitting with my dad. He's going to be 90 in November. He's entitled to sit. And I love being right beside him.
But his thankfulness is always there. No bitterness at all. Just appreciation for the life he and Momma had. That all of us kids keep coming to visit him since he no longer drives. For mom's steadfast faith in God through her suffering.
We all miss Momma. There will never be another lady like her in our lives. But she does live on in each of us. We can remember her laughing, planning a beach trip, doing genealogy.
And when I'm missing her, I can look back at my life with her and be thankful for her unconditional love and support. For all of her encouragement. For the times I sat with her and held her hand when she was weak or tired. Those moments of stillness with her are so precious to me now.
Mom, I love you. And Daddy, I love you, too.
TWEETABLE: Being Thankful Through the Difficulties of Life - Learning Life Lessons from my Dad (click to Tweet)
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