Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Saying Goodbye

My dad passed away on Monday, June 4th. 

He had struggled with various pulmonary diseases for ten years....and he had an incredibly tough fight the past few years. This past year, he really had no quality of life left, he was just existing.

It was his time....he was ready. 

We weren't. 

 

I thought I was....I thought I had myself prepared to say goodbye. I knew the call would come some day. But when it did, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I was with him when he took his last breath. I'm so grateful for that....I held his hand and I let him know it was ok to let go, we would take care of each other and Mom. 

It was the hardest thing I've done in my life, watching my father gasp his last gasp. 

 
We buried him on Saturday, in a small country cemetery not far from their house.  It's a quiet, serene spot to spend his eternal rest, and he is surrounded by other family members and friends who have already passed on. 

I know he's finally at peace, and I try to keep that thought in my mind when the grief overwhelms me. 


For those of us that are left behind, we have to find our own peace, our own solace at this time of such sadness. 

I am unable to take pleasure in anything yet, but I do find myself finding solace in some of the simple things in my everyday life. 


I walk around my garden, and I wonder will I always remember what was blooming when my Dad died? 

This was the year the white clematis finally bloomed, although it's now in the garden for 4 seasons. 

Will I always think of that, is it one of the many ways I will remember my Dad? 


The wild strawberries and blackberry brambles are all in bloom. I seem to be surrounded by white blooms right now....and they do bring me some sense of calm.

Dad loved strawberries and I made him a lovely Strawberry Rhubarb pie at his request this past autumn.

I'll never cook for him again, which makes me so sad. 

Random thoughts like that pop into my head at the oddest times. Snippets and remembrances of Dad that I hope will stay with me forever. 


I take solace in returning to normal everyday routines, after the heartbreak and stress of the past week. 

I set the table, prepare a simple meal for just the three of us.


In the center of the table is a reminder of friends who love us, who send sunshine to the house by way of flowers to grace the table. 

We were blessed to be surrounded by family and friends during this incredibly difficult period in our lives. 

At some point, everyone needs to go back to their lives and resume living, although we don't stop grieving. 


The guest room bed was stripped, the fresh sheets hung in the sunshine to dry. 

The simple act of hanging the sheets is often one of the most tranquil parts of my day. 


I take solace in the act of carefully making up the guest room once more with fresh clean sheets, so that my Mom may come stay whenever she needs an escape from her sadness and grief. 

Right now she is still getting daily visits from friends and neighbors...she is very blessed to have such a wonderful circle of caring people nearby to share their stories and memories of my Dad. 

He was such a wonderful man, he will be missed by all. 

All we can do is remember him, and go on living. 

 
I cut the grass, and I think of my Dad doing the very same at his house for so many, many years. 

He taught me so much about taking care of my house and property, and I am forever grateful for his lessons through the years. 


I tend to the veggie garden, and I think of how much my Dad loved fresh tomatoes and cucumbers out of the garden. 

He had his own little veggie garden for a while, but had to give it up a few years back when he could no longer tend to it. 

I loved being able to share our tomatoes and cucumbers with him, it was a small simple pleasure I could provide him in his declining health. 


I walk around my gardens, and I find peace in the act of tending to them, nurturing them. Just like my Dad did with his gardens....and with his family. 

I crave the quiet, and I need time alone to process my grief. 

Everyone has their own way of dealing with sadness, and this has always been my way. 


I grab a cozy blanket and stretch out on the swing in the evenings after dinner. More often than not, Little Miss Molly cuddles up beside me and has herself a good nap.

I wish my Dad could have gotten to know her....I brought her to their house once when she was first with us, but she was so nervous and scared he couldn't get to see the funny little crackpot that she is. 

He would have gotten a great kick out of some of her antics, no doubt. And she would have covered him with kisses.  

I swing and think and pray and talk to my Dad....the gentle swaying of the swing and the night noises soothe me to no end. The crickets have been especially vocal this year, which makes me ever so happy as that was the soundtrack I remember of summer evenings a child.

I had a wonderful childhood, I was very blessed. 

Thank you, Daddy....be at peace now, you earned it. 

xoxo

80 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your dad. One thing they never teach us is how to live without them. I dread the day I will too have to face such a loss. Prayers to you.
    Your flowers are beautiful.
    Lisa.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa - you are so right, that's one thing I didn't learn from my Dad.

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  2. I'm so very sorry for your loss.
    My dad passed very many years ago when I was a teen,my hubby passed in 2006,I think we're always "daddy girls"and regardless of age we mourn them deeply, I know my daughter misses her dad terribly.
    With Fathers Day approaching, I'm sure it will be a tough weekend for you,God's blessings for strength and courage through this difficult season.

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    1. Thank you, Pat. How sad for you to lose your Dad so early, that's a tough time to lose a parent for sure. I was blessed to have my dad until now.

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  3. Debbie, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I don't think we can ever be prepared to lose a loved one. You and the family will be in our prayers.

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    1. Thank you, you are so right, we can never be truly prepared for that loss.

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  4. So sorry for your loss. Healing prayers headed your way.

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    1. Thank you...we are grateful for all the prayers.

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  5. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. I have lost both of my parents and I was with both when they took their last breath as well. I know you will find comfort in the wonderful memories you have. Sending gentle hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Penny. I'm glad I was with him, that I could offer some comfort in his last moments.

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  6. I am so so sorry for your loss. I remember my dad's passing and how I felt so lost without him. I will keep you in prayer as your adjust to your new life without. God Bless.

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    1. I feel numb, Marty, and lethargic. I know this shall pass, and in time I will be able to smile and laugh again.

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  7. We are never prepared to lose someone we love. Sometimes we do have the time to say goodbye, but when that time comes we still are not prepared. My advice to You is take one day at a time. Sending you prayers and love.

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    1. Thank you, Betty - he was a wonderful man and I miss him terribly.

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  8. You will always hold him in your heart and that will get you through the tough times. The best gift we can give a loved one is the ability to let them go. It might not seem like it now but it will get better......... Thoughts and prayers for you and your family, Patti

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    1. Thank you, Patti - you reminded me of that old saying 'if you love something set it free' - that's what we had to do with Dad.

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  9. Grieve in your own way, in your own time. This is all still very fresh.
    God bless your Dad and your Mom, you & your family.
    Monica

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    1. Thank you, Monica - yes so true, this is still very raw and very fresh. It felt good to write about him and share with all of you.

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  10. I'm so, so sorry, Debbie. I know the pain of losing a parent all too well. I'm sending you great big hugs my friend and wish you solace, peace and wonderful memories of your dad as you walk your lovely, peaceful gardens. ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Kim, yes I know you do...I was blessed to have my Dad this long, many lose their parents at a much younger age, they miss out on so many memories.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss, Debbie. It leaves such a hole in your life, and it is hard to get used to it, if you ever do. In time though, it seems that you can begin to think of your times together fondly, instead of with sadness. It does take time, and the alone time you speak of was healing for me, too. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. My father has been gone 4 years now, and I have finally reached the point where I think of him him with happiness. I will keep you in my prayers for peace and comfort...a big hug is being sent your way!

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    1. Thank you, Linda - one of my sisters needs to talk everything out, and finds it hard to understand why I need to be alone in quiet...that's ok, I do what I have to do, as she does, to get through the days.

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  12. So sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful post - a lovely tribute to your father. Take care. -Jenn

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    1. Thank you, Jenn - there's so much more I could say, I could write for hours...

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  13. I understand so well, I have lost both my parents a few years apart. It may be a very long time but grieve as you need to for as long as you need to. Holidays are hard for a while, especially Father's Day. But one day the things you'll remember most are the warm loving times and not these days of sorrow. Hugs to you!

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    1. I am dreading Father's Day this weekend, Carole - it's still too raw to imagine getting through the day without some sort of a breakdown.

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  14. Debbie you will find solace and connection with your Dad in your garden as I do in mine. He taught you well in your gardening and must have been proud of how you share your piece of earthly paradise with so many.

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    1. My Dad used to read every post I wrote, Kate...I loved knowing he was keeping up with my life and home even when he wasn't able to leave his own home any longer.

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  15. I am so, so sorry for your incredible loss, Debbie. This was so beautifully written and a wonderful tribute to your dad. It made me cry! While I didn't have an easy, loving relationship with my father, I did love him. He passed away almost 20 years ago at the age of 63. My love and prayers go out to you. {{hugs}}

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    1. Thank you, Melanie - it made me cry to write it also! I'm sorry your relationship with your dad wasn't great, that's too bad, what a loss for both of you.

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  16. I'm so sorry. I lost my father quite suddenly when I was 18 years old. I was devastated as I'm sure you are. I still miss him all these years later, but the memories I have of him are comforting and not painful like they were in the beginning. Please take good care of yourself. I will be thinking of you.

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    1. How awful for you, Diane! I'm so glad my Dad was here to see me and my daughters grow up...he was such a big part of our lives he will be forever missed.

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  17. Hi Debbie, my thoughts are with you at this sad time. My Dad died in 1974. He was only 69, and his passing was unexpected. I lost my Mum in 2000, and she was 97. They still appear in my dreams many nights, and it all feels so real. It's a great comfort.
    Blessings Sweetie.

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    1. I feel as if I will be comforted as well to see my Dad in my dreams, Lesley - right now I think he's flitting around the garden as a yellow butterfly, which also brings me comfort to think he is free and happy.

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  18. Oh my, what a heart-wrenching yet beautiful post. I am so, so sorry, Debbie. He helped raise such a beautiful person, the sweet person that you are. You know I'm ahead of you in the grief process. But I go back and forth. Give it time and be good to yourself. Enjoy your gorgeous gardens and remember him. I admire that you had such a wonderful father.
    Brenda

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    1. I was truly blessed to have such a stable and loving influence all my life, Brenda - it's sad to me that you didn't, my sweet friend. We shall grieve together at this time of loss, and shall heal together as well.

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  19. Love, hugs & prayers for you dear Debbie. You have such wonderful memories of your Dad. Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I was very lucky, Lorraine, no doubt. Dad turned 80 in January, I'm glad we were all able to be there to celebrate with him.

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  20. Debbie, my heart is sad for you and your loss, and you mother's life partner. I am certain you will remember your Dad in all the ways you've mentioned here, and more. I can still remember the song that played on the radio as I made my way to the hospital when I got that call in 1985 of my Dad....
    The waves of sorrowful memories come crashing over you at first, and you feel as though you're drowning, can't breathe. Over the years they come less, but every now and again, and you still feel the emotional crash. Ride the waves of sorrow and remembrance, just as you need to in processing it. Peace and love.

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    1. Thank you, Rita - it's amazing all the thoughts that go through my mind....this is the bracelet I was wearing when Dad died, this is the jacket I was wearing, etc... I wonder how long those memories will stay with me?

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  21. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad, Debbie! Your memories of him will always keep him alive in your heart. Hugs!

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    1. He will always be alive in my heart, Carol, that's very true. We are all grieving in our own ways right now, but we are a close and strong family and will get through it.

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  22. Beautiful post that you can return to time and again as you move through your grief. Hugs to you!

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    1. Thank you, AnnMarie...I do find it somewhat comforting to read my own words about him, strangely enough, even though it makes me want to cry!

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  23. Your post is such a warm, heartfelt tribute to the role your father played in your life. I can see how he influenced you in the way you live and what you take pleasure in.

    I'm sending a big hug as you grieve, and love to all of your family.

    Jane x

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    1. Thank you, Jane. So true, my parents are both big gardeners, lovers of nature and the country lifestyle, and really led quite a simple life, as I strive to do. I was blessed to have Dad in my life for so long.

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  24. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Thank you for sharing some of your lovely memories of your Dad.

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    1. Thank you so much, Barbara...he was a great man.

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  25. I am so sorry for your loss. It is wonderful what fond memories you have. May God comfort you. Nancy

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    1. Thank you, Nancy - Father's Day was tough....

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  26. I am so sorry for your loss! I lost my dad 4 years ago to cancer. It was one of the hardest things in my life to go thru!! To this day, there are little things that happens and a memory is triggered. Time does ease the pain but there are still times you think about something special that happened and the tears come because you miss them so very much!!! I'll always be daddy's girl!! Take the time you need to grieve and remember all the special times.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that, Theresa. I'll miss him the rest of my days, no doubt.

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  27. Sad to hear of your loss, Debbie - What a gift he clearly was to you all - and you to him. That is a huge blessing in life, and a peace comes with knowing it in the end.

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    1. He was truly a gift, Karen Ann, and we were lucky to have him in our lives as long as we did.

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  28. I am sorry to hear of your loss. Ironically June 4th was the 31st anniversary of my father's sudden death. June 13th was the 30th anniversary of my first husband's suicide. When the wounds are fresh it seems as if they will never heal, but prayer and time will heal.
    I am praying for you and your family.

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry, how much you've been through that's just awful. Sending you hugs.

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  29. Your Dad was such an important part of your life and your love for him will always remain in your heart. May you find comfort in the simple everyday of blessings of wonderful memories.
    Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Maybe a strawberry shortcake this Father's Day as a memorial to him.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

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    1. We had a lovely steak dinner in memorial to him, he used to love a good steak back when he had a healthy appetitie, MJ.

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  30. Debbie, I am so very sorry ...I just got to your blog post. I am sending hugs to you. I can tell you the sharp sense of loss may ease, but the longing to hug your father won't ever go away. I miss my dad so much after all these years. Your Dad sounds like he was patient and kind to teach you to tend to your house and garden. There will be things that will pop into your head that make you think of your father at any time. Crying, then praying may help. Love you sweet young girl. xoxo, Susie

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    1. He was so patient and kind, you are right, Susie. He was a wonderful father, I was very blessed.

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  31. So sorry to hear of your loss Debbie. Losing a parent is hard....doesn't matter how old they are or how old you are. He sounds like he was a terrific Dad.
    Sending hugs
    Jeannette

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    1. My Mom is struggling, Jeannette, as she's been with him for 53 years...it's a huge adjustment for her. All we can do is be there for her and help her any way we can now.

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  32. Dear Debbie, I am so sorry that you have lost your Dad. You have written a sweet and beautiful post honoring him. Sorry I didn't see this sooner. We never really get over losing our parents, but it gets a little easier and we enjoy sweet memories of them. You take care.

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    1. Thank you, Henny - he was a sweet and wonderful man, it was so difficult to watch him suffer - I'm so glad he's not suffering any longer.

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  33. Debbie, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad, it is always difficult to let go of someone you love. Take time to grieve and grieve in you own way because everyone goes thru this in a different way. You will have to work thru all emotions, this is part of the grieving process. Remember your readers are thinking about you and wishing the best for you. Spend time working in yard and garden, this is refreshing time for many people.

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    1. My garden definitely brings me peace, Theresa - unfortunately I don't have nearly enough time to work in it as I'd like but I do what I can.

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  34. Oh Debbie! There is no way to be prepared for the loss of such a loving and precious father! Truly the thoughts you shared about him were beautifully written and I can only imagine how close to him you do feel in your garden. So special that your white clematis bloomed too. Praying for you sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn - I visited the cemetery on Father's Day and somehow I feel closer to him in my garden than at his grave. We all have our own ways to grieve and heal, and clearly nature helps me heal best.

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  35. Debbie, my heart is just breaking for you and for your family. I am so very sorry for the loss of your dad. He sounds like such a wonderful man who taught you so much about life, gardening and about loving and appreciating those in your life. My prayers and love are with you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debbie - it's been tough, I'm having a hard time with motivation since he passed, he's just always in my mind.

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  36. so so sad to hear of the loss of your Dad and I was thinking of you on Father's day, that had to be so hard. I hope your sweet memories will bring you comfort in the days ahead. Take care!

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    1. It was hard - we visited the cemetery and then Mom came up for dinner and an overnight stay, which was great - I think we both needed that!

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  37. Debbie, this is such heartbreaking news - I am so sorry! Your blog post is a beautiful tribute to him. He sounds like a very special man and wonderful father.

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    1. Thank you, Leigh - you are right, my heart is certainly broken. I know the pain will ease but for now it's the first thing I think of every morning when I open my eyes.

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  38. My thoughts are with you Debbie.

    Grief is the price we pay for loving. It’s a steep price, but so worth it. Right now, your heart feels heavy, but in time the memories will make you smile. The best thing we can do for loved ones is to keep their memory alive through our actions. Know that every time you tend to your garden you are honoring your father.

    White flowers are the symbol of purity. How befitting that they’re blooming profusely now, as your love for each other was truly pure and unconditional.

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    1. Beautiful words, my friend - so well said and so comforting to read. Thank you. xoxo

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  39. Debbie, I'm here from Karen - this old house too-I'm so sorry for your loss. I've always heard that time heals all wounds, but that is certainly not the case. Yes, we have to carry on but our sweet memories remain for as long as we are here. Our father passed away at 81 over 20 years ago, but I think of him still and remember his way of teaching us so many things. We were honored, as you are, to have had a good teacher in our father's.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Sally, both for your visit and for your kind words. He was a wonderful teacher and I was very blessed to have had him for so long.

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  40. Debbie, I'm so very sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I didn't realize it until I read today's post and then kept reading backward. It is so very clear to me from reading these lasts posts that he meant so much to you and I think about so many blog friends who didn't have that relationship and know that you were blessed, as was I. I sat holding my father's hand in hospice this month in 2001, with my three sisters and our mother. The memory still hurts and we still miss him so much but I like to think about him tending the gardens of heaven now because he was born to farmers and almost his whole career had to do with growing things from garden center owner to nurseryman, even to overseeing fields of red cabbage in his 70s for a Japanese company who used it for natural food coloring. And after he worked he came home every single day and went out to his garden. There have been many times when I have read your posts and thought to myself how he would have loved walking around your gardens with you. You would have been kindred souls.

    My mother has been in a nursing home for 6 years now, her memory failing more each year. I miss so much talking to her every week on the phone and our constant emails. I am so glad that you still have your mother and I know from reading here that you treasure your time with her and you did with your father. These days must still be so hard, even though you know he's no longer suffering. It's hard for a daughter to lose her father. I still think of so many things I wish I had asked him, just as I do my mom. I know your gardens will be a place of healing for you in the years to come, that you will probably feel closer to him there than anywhere. You have such a beautiful place, I enjoyed so much looking at your current pictures of it.

    God bless you and keep you as you go forward now with continuing to make a beautiful home for yourself, your sweetie, and your daughters and of course for your dear fur babies,
    Dewena

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    1. Thank you so much, Dewena - you are such a kind soul, and I always love to read your sweet comments. Your dad sounds like an amazing man, I'm sure he's got one heck of a garden up above....and no weeds or slugs or Japanese Beetles!!!!

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