Tag Archives: Family

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Grief (2017)

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How are we supposed handle it when Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Grief all hit at the same time? November 25 is the birthday of my former fiancé. This year it two days after Thanksgiving. A bittersweet day. Every 7 years his birthday would fall on Thanksgiving. It usually became a double celebration.

SPECIAL MEMORIES

One year in particular stands out to me. We drove to see the Christmas lights and garden displays at Longwood Gardens. We heard it was amazing. The word “amazing” just doesn’t do it justice. Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania in the Brandywine Creek Valley.  It is one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States. It is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, a world traveler from an early age, who was often inspired to add features to the garden after attending world’s fairs. The most notable additions being the massive conservatory, complete with a huge pipe organ and an extensive system of water fountains. Years before it was a public garden, the land on which Longwood Gardens stands was home to the native Lenni Lenape tribe and Quaker farmers. Since then, the land has undergone significant transformation to become the magnificent property that is enjoyed by more than a million guests each year.

Every year at Christmas time, more than 500,000 twinkling lights and spectacular fountain shows compose a brilliant Christmas wonderland. Visitors stroll through the ground which has lights strung on 40 miles of wire glowing in the trees. Large, starry snowflakes and icicles sparkle throughout the Gardens, while the continuously performing Theatre fountains present the colors of a Christmas rainbow. Although it was close to freezing, we walked through the Gardens in amazement.

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PENNSYLVANNIA COUNTRYSIDE

While in the area, we stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, Inn at Grace Winery (formerly Sweetwater Inn). Established in 1734, it is an historic 50-acre estate located in the heart of The Brandywine Valley. We were told by the owners that the cast and crew of the movie, The Village, had been staying there. The Village was a 2004 American film, written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starred Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. We had just missed seeing all of them by one day!  We also visited the Brandywine River Museum home of the works of American realist artist, Andrew  Wyeth and his family. His father, N.C. Wyeth was an illustrator of many children’s classics such as Treasure Island and The Last of the Mohicans. Andrew’s son, Jamie Wyeth, is a contemporary American realist painter. The museum is housed in a converted nineteenth century mill on the banks of the Brandywine Creek. Visiting the museum was a beautiful way to end a beautiful weekend. These memories will last forever.

Now when November 25 and Thanksgiving roll around, part of me just wants it to be over. Another part of me thinks back to all the wonderful times we spent together. Just like our time in Pennsylvania. Freezing as we walked through Longwood Gardens but not wanting to leave. Since he died, I still try to remember his birthday every year.  With wonderful memories like this, it isn’t hard to forget. I think it is healthy and honest.  Remembering him just seems like the right thing to do.  I just focus on all the great memories we had together.

Happy Birthday.  I haven’t forgotten you.

I know you are having a margarita (or two) in Heaven today!

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Signs From Dad

Signs From Dad

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Now that the Holidays are upon us I can’t help but miss my Dad. This will be the first Holidays without him and boy did he love this time of year. We used to say Dad decorated everything like Chevy Chase in the movie Christmas Vacation. Lights. Ornaments. Garlands. Everywhere!

Since Dad died in January of this year, he has been very busy from the other side sending us signs and messages. Almost too many to count. Writing about them reminds me that even though he isn’t here with us during the upcoming Holidays, he is never far from us.

Here are some of the signs Dad has sent us since his death.

SIGNS FROM DAD

One of the primary signs from Dad is music.  Songs when you least expect it.  There have been a few music signs which have made a big impact on me.  The first one was shortly after his death.  My Mom and I had stopped to have lunch.  It was probably the first time we had been out since he died.  We walked into the restaurant and were shown to a table.  As soon as we sat down, two of my Dad’s favorite songs (both from his Memorial Service) began to play.  My Mom and I looked at each other and knew immediately Dad was there with us at that moment.

The second time was when I was at the Dentist’s office.  I had walked from our house to the dental office thinking about my Dad the whole way there. When I sat down in the waiting room, two of my Dad’s favorite songs played over their music system. Hearing these songs opened the floodgates. Fortunately, I was still wearing my dark sunglasses. Another reminder Dad knew I was thinking about him. Luckily, I was able to compose myself before they called me in for my teeth cleaning.

Another time, my Dad sent music at Walmart. My Dad loved shopping.  When I walked in to Walmart, I thought about how much my Dad had loved to shop there. As I moved through the store, the song from Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension played over the sound system.

“Bill I love you so
I always will…”

It wasn’t so much the song or the lyrics but the fact the song was about “Bill.” My Dad’s name was Bill.  I hadn’t heard that song in years and years. I knew immediately that my Dad was there shopping with me.

The most recent music sign form my Dad was this past Saturday.  I was sitting in LA freeway traffic. My mind wandered (as it usually does) to my Dad.  For some reason, I decided to change radio stations and ended up stopping on the one playing Christmas music. As soon as I stopped there, the song Blue Christmas by Elvis played.  This was my Dad’s favorite Christmas song.  He sang it all the time. It is my most favorite memory of him.  At the moment the song played, I knew my Dad was there with me in the car.  I began to cry.

ONE SPECIAL SIGN

One of the most special signs from Dad happened for my son.  He had wanted one of his Papa’s watches.  My Mom found one for him but it wasn’t in working condition. It probably didn’t even have a battery.  But my son loved it and wore it anyway so he could be “close” to his Papa.

Last week my son was in a school golf tournament in which his team came in first place.  This was the first time EVER a student team had won.  My son attributed the win to the fact that he wore his Papa’s watch which gave the team good luck.  As he was explaining his win to his roommate that night, my son looked down at the watch and saw that the second hand was moving.  He thought there was no way it was possible because we had never bought a battery for it.  He looked away and when he looked again, my son not only saw that the second hand was still moving, but the time on the watch was the exact time on the kitchen clock.  Then watch then stopped working again. My son said he was so moved, he couldn’t finish talking to his roommate.  He ran upstairs to his room and cried.  He then called me and told me the story.  I couldn’t believe it either. I said it was Dad/Papa’s way of telling him he was there with him on the golf course that day.  What an amazing gift!

I will probably write more about my Dad’s signs in the weeks and months  to come since there are too many to include in this article.  These signs are help to make the Holidays less painful.  They are just another reminder our loved ones are never far from us!

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

 


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Father's Day

First Father’s Day Without Dad

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It’s a day I’ve been dreading since Dad died in January. This is my first Father’s Day without him. The first one in 57 years. I’ve been anticipating this day for months. I can’t escape it. It’s been in my face everywhere I go. It’s just another reminder he isn’t here anymore.  To be honest, I’m tired of those reminders.

Although I know it is actually healthier to cherish this day (rather than avoid it) as a way to honor my Dad, it all depends on where someone is on their journey. Part of me wants to avoid it. I know that avoiding Father’s Day can also be healthy. Another part of me wants to go to his favorite sports bar, watch sports and drink beer. If my Sister is up for it, we will probably do the latter.

If you lost someone you loved are not sure what to do, here are a few of the ways you can approach Father’s Day (or any Holiday):

WAYS TO APPROACH FATHER’S DAY

Be Prepared. Anticipating the grief associated with these events is normal. Knowing ahead of time may be tough can help you to decide how you want to spend that day. It could be celebrating with family and friends or being alone in your grief. Being prepared will help you to honor what works best for you.

Plan a Celebration. There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate on Father’s Day. It’s perfectly okay to throw a party. It’s perfectly okay to actually have some fun in memory of your loved one. If you do, they will be there celebrating with you.

Get Out of Dodge. If it is too much for you to be home alone during these reminder days, plan a trip away or go visit family or friends. It is perfectly okay to not be around if being in familiar surroundings with reminders everywhere is too much to handle. Just get the heck out of dodge.

Share Memories. Consider inviting friends over so you can share memories of your loved one. Ask your friends to share their own memories. Pull out old photographs or home movies. Tell stories. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you laugh. Memories are the best way to remember your loved one. There is no better way to honor them.

Start a New Tradition. If facing your usual traditions are too difficult, start a new one. Make a donation to a charitable organization, volunteer or plant a tree in your loved one’s name on Valentine’s Day.

Honor Your Grief. It’s normal to be both sad and joyful on these days. Expressing both kinds of emotions makes us human. Honor these emotions. Don’t avoid them. Worse, don’t pretend. Just feel.

No Fanfare. It’s also okay to let these days just be ordinary days. No celebration. Just another day.

So I’ve decided it is completely healthy to either acknowledge or not acknowledge Father’s Day. You have to do what is right for you.

Surround yourself with people who understand what you need – not what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing.

Let this days come and go. Even if this means choosing to do nothing.

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POEM FOR MY DAD ON FATHER’S DAY

“Special Hero” By Christina M. Kerschen

When I was a baby

you would hold me in your arms

I felt the love and tenderness

keeping me safe from harm

I would look up into your eyes

and all the love I would see

How did I get so lucky

you were the dad chosen for me

There is something special

about a father’s love

Seems it was sent to me

from someplace up above

Our love is everlasting

I just wanted you to know

That you’re my special hero

and I wanted to tell you so.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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