i suppose that when in your 90’s that the road behind you has more to tell than the road ahead and instead of the worry and the hurry to get where you thought you should be you listen to that long long road i hear my mom as she walks that road and stops along the way she pauses and wonders what can she say to give thanks to God for her family what can she say to give thanks to God for all the love that surrounded her journey in one story she laments her losses then as the tears are flowing a moment comes to the surface and suddenly she laughs sorrow harmonizes with joy laughter sings with tragedy but still still gives thanks and on that road she remembers all the gifts without number that she has shared with family with friends now she’s tired her most frequent visitor is pain here eyes are dim but her voice doesn’t wane as she skips down that road picking memories like a beautiful rose she holds in her hands the important things that somehow we forget but she knows and her wisdom falls like sweet silver snow on the hearts of all who listen bringing light and it just glistens in your soul she recalls the years with pride and with deep lament she speaks of her mom and dad her sisters her brothers with thankfulness carried by her tears she speaks of their love so much love there is a power in her spirit that pays no attention to her age or the sheer exhaustion of each day her diminished frame is a sanctuary of strength and lovem i hope i have passed along the smallest portion of her love to my family for even a fragment of that love would fill the world would flood a soul would help mend the wounds we all carry thank you mom for speaking truth for remembering to laugh for lamenting all the sadness for all your love so much love
Took our two grandsons to the river to break ice and throw it into the river… because… you know… we’re just boys. 🙂
Scene 1 fades in from black: I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my two daughters. Eleven months before I said, “Her mother and I do,” at my oldest daughter’s wedding, and like the refrain of a song, I just said the same words at my youngest daughter’s wedding! My oldest son is already married. Three down, one to go. I pull out my phone and capture… this… empty room. I guess I was hoping to capture the conversations, dance parties, tears, Christmas mornings, laughter, prayers… capture all that happened in that room. The phone displays an empty room. But I am filled with gratitude as I remember that grace brought me here and will continue to lead me…home. I am crossing the vast Canyon of Parenthood, which is followed by the great Canyon of Fatherhood and the Canyon of Where Did the Time Go… and I realize that I am at the beginning of that time in my life where I will be remembered a bit less, and less. And that is what will be. And it’s ok. Scene 1 fades to black.
Scene 2 fades in from black. I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my youngest son. I pull out my phone… you know the rest. Now, the emptiness of the room is a bit more final in my heart. All four of our children (can I still call them children?) are gone. Now I watch our children and their families, and I see them and the 6 little ones that are the new generation in their “rooms” praying, crying, laughing, enjoying dance parties, creating moments to remember and one day say good-bye to… one day let go… one day to try and capture on a phone. And I know that the new generation will forget more than they remember of their papa and nana. And I know that is what must be. And it’s okay. Scene 2 fades to black. One more scene.
Scene 3 fades in from black. I am being held by my mom in an impossibly strong, firm embrace. Impossible because my mom’s 96 year old body appears to be so frail, brittle and fragile. I see her connecting to my dear wife in a hushed conversation filled with memories and love. She can’t really stand up straight anymore. It seems like she is always folding in on herself, like she is ever seeking the fetal position. I tell her, as often as I can, that I love her, and her frail, thin voice tells me the same. My mom is a stranger in this world. She has lived long enough to bury he mom and dad and all of her siblings. The neighborhood is filled with strangers, for all of her friends from the old days have passed as well. She is, in so many ways, alone. Few remember who she is. And as I have had the opportunity to watch her in these late years, I am grateful for all that she has taught me. She has embraced her reality, and it is okay. She has taught me to welcome your emotions and the reality that you are in, but to not let it steal the grace and love that you can, at any moment, give to someone. She is frustrated, but not angry. She is sorrowful, but not bitter. She feels forgotten, but is not resentful. I want so badly to take away all the pain, heartache and struggle that makes up her days and nights. But I can’t. It must be this way. And that is okay. If I could take it away, it would diminish her and also diminish me. It is okay. This scene will fade to black. I am not sure I will be able to navigate that blackness. But, it will be. And that’s okay.
My mom and dad have been married for 62 years. They both have their physical struggles and they take care of each other. My dad takes care of my mom’s arthritic feet every morning. I felt privileged to watch him carefully wash, dry and apply topical aids on her feet. They have lived a Valentine‘s life together, and not just a Valentine’s Day. I was also reminded of what Jesus taught us. Take a moment and read the gospel of John chapter 13 today. Thanks for stopping by.
From a recent family birthday get together! Thanks for stopping by!
Enjoyed greeting the new day at Jones Beach with my dear dad.
I am more comfortable photographing landscapes, and don’t feel as confident photographing people, but I like how this turned out from a recent wedding. Thanks for stopping by.
Our youngest son is getting married tomorrow... I walked into his room and reflected on what I found... dear son thank you for the empty room it tells me the time has come to see you journey on and say how proud i am of you dear son thank you for my heart is full it tells me that the time has come to listen to my memories and watch you make your own dear God thank you for your grace for me it tells me there is grace for him let him be so much more than me let him soar and sing and be a wonderful man a wonderful man who was once a boy to me
listen listen can you hear this mother cry her daughter is gone such a sad sad song she cries it’s just all wrong listen listen can you hear this daddy cry he lost his boy such a sad gray song he cries it’s just all wrong oh great Light have mercy now have mercy now mommy cries have mercy now have mercy now daddy doesn’t know what to do oh great Light break through oh great Light break through listen listen can you hear the silence of the children cry laughter gone such a sad sad song the silence cries listen listen can you hear the heartbeat sound you have life so lay it down yes lay it down all around all around the world is crying now oh great Light have mercy now have mercy now mommy cries have mercy now have mercy now daddy doesn’t know what to do oh great Light break through oh great Light break through
Spent some time with family at Van Buren State Park in Michigan. The park is beautiful with camping for giant RV’s and tents, and it is located close to beautiful South Haven, MI.