To Everything a Season

November 27, 2014

Black and white

This picture was taken almost a year ago.  Once again there’s snow on the banks of his beloved river; it’s a little early this year, arriving on Thanksgiving.  I’ve watched it through all the seasons, at times bursting forth with new growth and activity, and at other times quiet and serene as the water moves under the ice.

As I look at it, I see him everywhere.  This has become my mantra, my touchstone as I begin to navigate without him.  He has equipped me well, I think.  Since the beginning, he answered my questions, leading by example, a human being profoundly different from me in temperament and gifts.  His methodical mind was a welcome and, many times, unwelcome gift.  I bewildered him with my intuitive approach to life, whereas his pragmatism and intense attention to detail and precision frequently felt cold.

However, I was given the privilege of being able to spend time with him as his health declined over the last few years.  We started holding hands as we watched a Red Sox game together.  When I surprised him with an unusual sandwich, his eyes would light up.  I was able to help care for him when he was no longer able to get out of bed, his courtesy constant even as his body failed.  I had the privilege of hearing him say, “Goodnight.  I love you too.”

Now we kiss her on both cheeks and wish her “precious dreams” the way she did when we were children.  She’s aware that he’s gone, but after 68 years of marriage it’s hard to remember.  When she asks, “Why do I have to get up in the morning?” I pause.  Finally I respond, “So you’re not roaming the halls at 1am.”  She thinks for a moment, then decides that’s a good answer.  The problem is, she’s always been a night owl.  She’s ready to roam now that he’s not here to tell her it’s bedtime.

17 Responses to To Everything a Season

  1. pao on November 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Oh Jean, my heart goes out to you as I wipe tears from my eyes. The pain and sorrow, understanding and remembering, and jumble of what was, with what is, and might be. You write exquisitely and I feel swept away in all ways. Love to you, pao

  2. The Style Crone on November 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    A beautiful and powerful piece about your loss. It was wonderful that you connected with your father as his body failed and brought new understanding. I have no words. Just love.

  3. Curtise on November 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Darling Jean, I’m so very sorry. You have written such a moving piece for your father, honest and heartfelt and thoughtful. Sending much love to you and your family. xxx

  4. Rosalind on November 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Such a beautiful, deeply moving evocation of loss and of change. And what a privilege indeed to hear him tell you he loved you…
    My mum lost her dad 2 months ago; she said that she knew she would never hear him say out loud in words that he loved her, but that she didn’t need to: his actions had shown her.

  5. Krista on November 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    My dear sweet Jean I wish so much I could give you a long heartfelt hug. These words are full of beauty and sorrow and speak volumes of the love you have for your father. I feel your pain, you know I do. Be kind to yourself these next few weeks they will be a blur. I hope you also find a bit of solace in knowing your are not alone in your pain. The loss of a parent is something we will all work through.
    I love you girl!

  6. Amber of Butane Anvil on November 29, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Beloved friend, my heart is with you. Thank you for sharing your father with us through this very dear tribute.
    All kindness and love to you and yours, xoxoxoxo

  7. Veshoevius on November 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    What a tender and emotional and beautifully written ode to your father Jean. My heart goes out to you and your mother for your loss. Sending a big hug to you xx

  8. Jan Graham-McMillen on November 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Hello, Sweeting. Know precisely where you are, because I did it almost like you have. I don’t have to advise you to treasure the moments and memories, because you already are, but with this very deep sadness and I strongly urge you to read something or listen for every day that brings a huge laugh up deed from your belly … it brings your brave spirit back up to the surface for a little fresh air and some sun before it recedes back to the business of healing itself.
    I think of you so often. It’s awful when the parents disappear.
    Love to you, darling.

  9. Forest City Fashionista on November 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Beautifully written Jean – I am very sorry for your loss.

  10. Vix on November 30, 2014 at 8:15 am

    What a beautifully written piece, Jean. My thoughts are with you. xxx

  11. Corinne Devery on December 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    He must have been so proud to have such a beautiful daughter.

  12. Jazzy Jack on December 5, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Feeling for you Jean, as snow settles on your river bank. Know that the sun will return once more and you will see it with your new fresh eyes. What a wonderful daughter you are. Any father would be proud to hear “he has equipped me well”. Hugs to you to keep you warm. xo JJ

  13. PinkCheetahVintage on December 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    This is sad and beautiful. It’s always hard to lose a loved one. {{hugs}}

  14. Feda on December 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Jean this piece was so genuine. You bring such beautiful words that make a complicated emotion less so. Sending you love and light and I agree with one of the previous comments on making time to laugh to give some fresh air to the soul while it is healing. Each situation in life brings a different reflective state, and as hard as it is, there is always beauty to be seen. LOve you.

  15. Jan Graham-McMillen on December 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    … and here I am again, to wish you both a very Merry Christmas. Since you’ve been so quiet, I’m guessing things are still not getting much easier. We all love you, and I hope you find some deep quiet and great joy during this holiday, and that at least one time you laugh until you spray coffee, tea or whatever out your nose! Well, maybe not quite that, but I hope you have a lot of smiles that please you down to your toes!
    Here’s to an easier 2015 for all of us!

  16. Shawna on January 11, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I am so behind in blog reading and in many things but I stumbled across this blog post of yours which I missed. My condolences are coming late but they are heartfelt. I am sorry for your loss and I am awed by your beautiful piece of writing. It will take whatever time it takes for the pain to lessen and as you wrote in your other post, that is okay. It is more than okay, it is right.

  17. Natalia Lialina on January 15, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Dear, dear Jean, I only now read this post. I can’t believe I missed it. I thought of you often. I am so very sorry, my dear beautiful friend… Your wrote a very moving piece, deeply touching and beautiful. I wish you to find peace and harmony in little things and people around you who really love you. The love of your dear father will never be gone, I hope you can feel it. I want to just give you a big hug. Take a good care of yourself, my dear. You are such an extraordinary woman. I’m sending you lots of love. Sincerely xxxxxx

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