Grief has no timeline.
You can feel like you’ve moved on from grieving the loss of a loved one and then grief hits you hard, tugging—no, yanking!—at your heartstrings. Holidays and anniversaries of the loved one’s passing intensify this feeling.
For our family, it’s a double whammy. Dad passed away around the time of Thanksgiving four years ago. Mom and Dad had been part of our Thanksgiving celebration for many years. So as the Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, Dad’s been on my mind more than usual.
It started when I went to look for a pair of clippers to deadhead some sunflowers and cosmos flowers. While many people are pulling out their plants for the fall cleanup, I’ve been blessed with a garden still with plenty of plants in bloom.
I couldn’t find my usual clippers. I can’t count how many have found their way to yard waste bags unintentionally! As I looked through the shed, I found red clippers that Dad had given me. They have a straight edge, not curved like my usual ones. And they’re in need of being sharpened. I’ve never used them for that reason but since they were all I had left, I picked them up.
Then, something happened. Memories flooded me of wonderful times spent with Dad. I felt very close to Dad—I know it sounds bizarre, but he held those clippers and did the same things in his yard as I was now doing in mine. It felt good, like receiving a hug from him.
I thought of how no matter when he last saw someone, his face lit up, like they were the only person that mattered to him. He showed a genuine interest in everyone and had great compassion also.
As I worked in the garden, my sadness lifted. I thought how the best way to emulate Dad was to help him live on in spirit. Dad had an infectious laugh and that’s what I remember well. Dad would not want his family to be sad.
I will have a place setting at the table for Dad. A glass cardinal from his home will sit on the plate in his memory.
I will strive to be more like Dad. Make whoever I speak to feel like they’re the centre of the universe. Be an attentive listener. Make others feel important. Laugh more!
Maya Angelou said it best, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That was so true for Dad. He made everyone feel loved.
I want to be just like Dad.
Happy Thanksgiving, to my family and friends!
As I wrote this blog post, I sat in the backyard. My iPad was balanced on my knees and my camera was at my side. I had been hoping to catch a hummingbird photo. As I typed the very last word, a cardinal began to chirp. I captured a shot of it as it landed on a tomato cage in the vegetable garden. Love when beautiful unexpected things like this happen!