Dad & Mom ~ Birthday Reflections

When I logged on to my computer Wednesday morning my Outlook calendar reminded me that it was my father’s birthday—his first since he passed away last summer.  He would’ve been 95.  I gave his eulogy and wrote a series of posts about his passing while in the midst of my grief and processing.   In those posts I recounted how beautiful his passing was and about the family healing that resulted.

Nine months have passed and we have all returned to our busy lives in various parts of the country.  My stepmother has meticulously cleaned out the house and my father’s belongings.  She invested in some long overdue major house repairs.  Earlier this month her son permanently moved into their home.  It is her time to be cared for and rest easy after several years of being my father’s primary caregiver.

Remembering Dad

In years past, I would call my father on his birthday or sometimes send him a card.  He wasn’t a sentimental person so that didn’t matter to him.  In a strange sort of way though, I felt closer to my father this week than on prior birthdays.

My father's rosary

My father’s rosary

My father’s birthday fell on a Wednesday, the day that I regularly attend a church service and devote a large block of time in prayer.  Although not Catholic, I keep his rosary with me during these times.  Yesterday as I clutched it and prayed, I sensed his presence and his peace.

When the family went through my father’s personal belongings, I was surprised to find the rosary.  He turned away from his Catholic roots many, many years ago.  Dad was a born again Christian, yet he still had his rosary—although he probably forgot about it long ago.  It was broken and not much to look at—black with small wooden beads.

All of my siblings and family are now Protestant (we were raised Catholic) so I knew no one would want it.  Since the Catholic Church played such a significant role in my mother’s peaceful passing and my healing, I knew I couldn’t let it be discarded.

Remembering Mom

Much like Wednesday’s remembrance of my father, I mark my mother’s birthday with pleasant memories of her.  I don’t have either of the rosaries I bought her on my trips back home.  Both were lost.  The only mementos I received after she died was a bracelet I bought her for Mother’s Day—the last time I saw her alive—and a remnant of the chain from the first communion cross pendant I gave her on my 50th birthday.

My mother's chain & bracelet

My mother’s chain & bracelet

Mom’s first posthumous birthday also fell on a Wednesday, soon after I had started my personal weekly prayer vigils two years ago.  Her birthday was only a few weeks after she died.

I vividly remember that day because after my prayer time, I had a beautiful song waiting for me on my phone (via email) from Pedro.  It was “Rome”, the second song I knew he composed.  He sent it out of the blue, not knowing it was my mother’s birthday.  It immediately brought tears to my eyes due to its sheer beauty and the perfect timing of its receipt.  That song was a precious gift, which for me, is forever linked to my healing and my mother’s passing.

Still Grieving?

I think I can comfortably say that my grieving for my father is done.  When the time is right and I return to the house he called home for the last 35+ years, I suspect a new wave of sadness will hit me.  Then when I step on Spanish soil in two months, and meet Rosa face to face, more tears will be shed over the passing of our mothers and how God has beautifully connected us.

Two deaths.  Two eulogies.  In two years.  And now two posthumous birthdays that I privately celebrate with gratitude to God for the perfect way He orchestrated my parent’s passings and the healing in my life.  I think that’s worth some quiet time of reflection, don’t you?

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3 Comments

  1. Laura

     /  April 30, 2013

    These are the remnants of hope God always provides….even when it seems there is none. I love how it is now in your memories that a sense of joy and peace are reflected. God wants us all to have that, it just takes some of us a little longer to find it….but we do!

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    • Thanks Laura for your insightful comment. It did take me a long, long time to find that peace with my parents. He did it in such a miraculous way. And for that I am most grateful! Blessings to you, Ardis

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      Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing. Healing is a long road & God knows the path well. He blesses us with many surprises along the way. Bathe in His gentleness. ~Terri

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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