Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Year

Today marks one year since my dad died.  I sat here for about 10 minutes trying to decide what phrase to use -- passed on, passed away, took his last breath -- but in the end, the simplest word seemed the most appropriate.  My dad died.

I wasn't sure what grief was going to look like this past year, but now I know.  It was the sudden pangs in my chest, the burst of tears when I would think of something to tell him, the overall ache of realizing he was truly gone.  I felt that I was somewhat prepared for his death, and I still think I was.  He was suffering, he had lost so much of his brilliant mind at the end, and he was struggling. I know that it was his time, even though it feels like it was much too soon.  But, what I wasn't prepared for was the complete lack of his presence. I wasn't prepared for not being able to talk to him. I wasn't prepared for not being able to hear his opinion on things. I wasn't prepared for him not being here.  I was just prepared for the moment of his death -- not all the moments of my life without him.

And I realized that grief is pretty much a solitary thing.  At least it has been for me.  My journey is mine -- just as everyone's journey is their own.  That's not to say that I haven't received support, for I have.  But the grief my mom has dealt with losing her partner of almost 50 years is much different than mine -- or even my sister's or my brother's grief. I'm grateful that my husband has been here with me and for me.

In the end, life for everyone else has gone on. I wish I could say that I've had some epiphany and embarked on some grand journey to honor him -- but I haven't.  I've just gone on with my life, caring for my family, myself, and working.  Thoughts of him are with me every day. I've honored him by remembering him, by telling my children about him, by keeping his memory in my heart.

Today I will go to work -- teaching Adobe InDesign to a group of people.  I'll probably cry in my truck a bit.  I'll come home, check in on my mom next door, have dinner with my family.  I'll honor my dad by loving and caring for my family the best way I know how -- just as he did.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Sharing Arizona with friends

Last week, I let the kids play hooky from school! It was well worth it because a friend of ours, Sarah, was in town from frigid Boston.

We had the good fortune to meet Sarah thanks to the National Stuttering Association, where she takes charge of many of the kid activities at the annual conferences.  Over the last 3 years, we've gotten to know her better and think she is awesome!

She stutters, and is an ELL teacher, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the NSA.  When Nate's teachers mentioned earlier this year that they couldn't imagine a teacher stuttering, I wished I could teleport Sarah into their classrooms so she could show them that it was no big deal!

One of the things that I like about Sarah is that she is extremely kind and considerate towards everyone. She really takes the time to listen, especially to kids! She has taken a genuine interest in my 3, but I know that if you asked any parent whose kids spent some time with her they would say the same thing!

We were excited to show her the Desert Botanical Gardens during her stay in our lovely, warm state and she and her sweet friend had a great day.  My kids shared their wealth of knowledge about Arizona and I know that if nothing else -- the sunshine and warmth were highlights of their day.

On our way home, Lydia piped up from the back seat -- "I really like Sarah's stutter!" and Nate said "I liked being able to spend the day with someone else who stuttered!"  It reminded me again how grateful I am that we found the National Stuttering Association.  It's allowed us to meet the most amazing and wonderful people and build fabulous friendships.  Along the way, we've learned quite a bit about stuttering -- mainly that it just doesn't matter if someone stutters!  No matter who you are, or what your gifts are, all that matters is how you treat others.

Sarah is a shining example of a wonderful person that I'm glad my kids look up to.  She makes our world a better place. If she didn't stutter, we probably never would have met -- so I'm also grateful for Nate's stutter and her own!
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