Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The first year of losing someone is always hard. There is the day-to-day grieving of the person you lost. Sometimes the grief is sharp and sudden, brought on by the unexpected. Other times it is deep and rolling, as it washes over you in waves. There are times when you just cry your heart out, as it is breaking, and then other times there are those sudden, quick tears that spring to your eyes, and you can quickly wipe them away and continue on with your day. Throughout that first year the daily grief is punctuated by certain "milestones". The first holidays without them, the first vacation, family dinner, even trips to a place like a favorite restaurant. Yesterday was one of those milestones for our family- it was Dad's birthday. It would have been his 62nd. Looking at that number, it is hard to believe that he was so "young". In the average span of a human's life, 62 really is young.

All day long there were thoughts of past birthdays, but also sadness at how he should have been here, celebrating with his family. Smiling that famous smile, hugging his grandchildren tight, letting them blow out the candles on his birthday pies (Dad always preferred pies to cake), opening his presents and exclaiming over each new shirt as he held it up against him.

Instead, this year, we gathered around the table and there was a palpable feeling of loss as we felt his absence keenly. Even so, we were able to enjoy each others' company, as well as the delicious food. There was laughter and joking, even with the undercurrent of grief.

After dinner we all went out to the backyard where we planted a small Red Oak tree that had been given to us as a gift in remembrance of Dad. It seemed a fitting thing to do on his birthday, a way to remember him both now and for the future as the tree grows. Mom had a birthday card that she had purchased for him several months ago. As we all gathered around the freshly dug hole, she read the sweet words of love meant for him. She then tucked the card into the side of the hole and we planted the tree. It was surprisingly hard to put that tree into the dirt. Even though it wasn't Dad, the freshly dug hole, the was all too reminiscent of the burial. It was also painful to realize that we wouldn't be here, doing this, if Dad was still in our midst. Once the little tree was snug in the ground, we all took turns watering it- from the oldest to the very youngest. We then wiped our tears away, and went back inside to enjoy the peach pies Mom had made in Dad's honor.

As I look out to the backyard I can see where the tree is planted. I think Dad would have liked the spot we chose. It is near the hammock, a place where he would like to rest, rocking in the shade, reading the newspaper, enjoying the shady trees and the reservoir.

Dad, May 15, 2008


EEEEMommy said...

An oak is fitting. I can picture your beautiful family all together eating peach pie, honoring your father.
I love you, Daisy!

Amy from Occupation: Mommy said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate your dad's birthday.

Soo said...

What a beautiful way to remember your dad! Praying for you and your family.

Bala Waxworks said...

I'm glad that a lot of your family were able to get together to love and support one another with this event.

Your family is very special in the way that everyone would want to share in this commemorative birthday of Roger's.

I know that getting together with your extended family would bring moments of sharing great memories and understanding as well in the individual grief, pain and feeling of great loss as well.

Prayers of love and strenght are wished for you at this time of need.

luv always, L

Heather said...

Every time I think of you I shed a tear for your sweet dad. I can't imgaine the pain and loss that you are feeling, and will continue to experience. I am praying for you and your family. I hope that your tears will become less, as joyful memories take their place and your heart will be healed. Thank goodness you have the true promise of heaven where a grand reunion will one day take place! Know that you are in my thoughts, dear friend. xoxo

The Family K. said...

What a befitting way to commemorate your dad's birthday. I'm so sorry for his loss and for the pain that your family is enduring. I pray that that pain will lessen markedly with each occasion. It will be a beautiful day when you all meet again.

The Moser Family said...

Just last week my mother-in-law commented on the loss of a parent. She said it was the hardest loss for her because as time went on she missed her parents more and more. So many things she wanted to ask them or to tell them about. Made me want to appreciate more what I've got now.
What a wonderful and meaningful way to celebrate your Dad's birthday. Praying for you...