Mom and Dad came to visit me on the Sunday before he died.
And I will never be able to tell you how grateful I am for that.
Usually they would come to visit on a Sunday, we would eat lunch and have a lazy afternoon of watching movies. The last few times they came we got in the habit of Dad and I propping ourselves up in my bed, with mom in the gold corduroy chair that had been in their home since I was a little girl. It was cozy and comfortable and one of my favorite ways to spend the day.
That Sunday, Mom asked what I thought I could eat and I told her I wanted to learn how to make her special potato salad... the one that never had a recipe. So she whipped up a batch and paid attention in order to estimate measurements, and we had potato salad with ham and great conversation. We talked about their trip to stay with my brother Steve’s kids, and the other grandkids’ games they had attended. They told me about a friend of our family who had suffered a heart attack while driving, and we were all so grateful that he was not only alive but doing very well. On the way home they wanted to visit another friend who was in the hospital as she and her husband were in a motorcycle accident.
We talked about how fleeting life can be, the miracles of modern medicine and the grace of God’s protection. Looking back on it now, I am crying at the irony and still so grateful for the grace of God’s protection. His protection of my Dad in the way he was honored with a peaceful death while happy, content and doing what he loved most... being on the lake and enjoying the people he loved.
It doesn’t make the pain any less, to be honest, but I am grateful nonetheless.
The three of us went into my room, assumed our positions, but never got around to the movie. Instead we talked about ways to redecorate my room, what colors to paint the walls, and if I should paint some of my furniture white. Since Dad has been helping Mom more in her interior design store, he really seemed to have gained some good opinions about these things... but it still made me laugh a little inside to hear him voice them. :)
I had given Mom and Dad my old camera and Mom has become a pro at whipping out the camera so I can see all that happens now that I’m not around. So, Dad brought my computer into bed with us and I downloaded all the photos so he could show me all the landscaping work he had done. He has loved working on the yard, and said that his little garden was his way of still being a bit of a “farmer” without the field.
I told him I should use these photos as his YOU:create project, and he got a little grin and shrugged. Which is how I knew he kind of liked the idea. Then he showed me the photos Mom had taken of him repainting some old lawn furniture for my Great Aunt Camilla and I said, “THESE are the photos I’ll use for YOU:create!” He was grinning less at that idea and said that maybe he should have put a shirt on, but he let me go with it anyway.
He’d do about anything to make me happy.
I have to tell you, out of all the memories, out of all the photos, these are the ones that are hardest for me. These are the ones he told me in detail mere days before his death. These are the ones where I can still hear his voice telling me what a deal he got on the tall grass at Bomgaar’s, and how to use Round-Up on the grass you want to plant in rather than till it under so you don’t have to worry about grass growing back in later. I can hear him explaining to me about the dark mulch that looks like dirt, and how he was so happy to be able to do something for Aunt Camilla. How he always thought it was better to fix what you have rather than look for something new. How it was important to her and that made it important to him.
I can still feel his shoulder when I rested my head on it, I can still feel his hand as we compared his dark skin to my light. I can hear his voice in these photos, and I miss him.
So, here are some of the photos of Dad’s YOU:create projects, but the one project I'm most grateful for is the one he created by loving me through my life.
I’d love to see what you all have been up to the last few weeks... Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your project. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo to represent your project.