Simply Sunday

Old Word Hope

I did not choose a word for the year. One chose me.

I had never heard of this word until yesterday. Not a surprise since it was last used in the 16th century. As I read its definition, it seemed like the perfect choice.

Before I share my word, you need to know its antonym.

Despair-the complete loss or absence of hope.

Though I have felt sadness and grief, I can’t say I have experienced despair. I have witnessed hopelessness. It is not difficult to find. So many challenges over the past couple of years. Such is this life we live.

No more suspense. My word for the year is…

Respair-fresh hope, or recovery from despair.

I am glad it found me! Now to try using it in a sentence. 😉

Here’s to respair in 2022! 🕊

For Poppy

Yes, I know sixteen years is a long time, especially in doggie years. Our sweet Poppy girl, always my shadow. You never missed the chance for just one more treat. And I was always a sucker.

I was not prepared for the grief of losing you. It held tight on your last day with us. Leaving me barely able to breathe, unable to hold back tears.

I keep looking for you around the house. Glancing where your bed should be. Death is a part of all life. Causing an emptiness in spaces and hearts.

In the Sun

Wet nose
Wagging tail
Flipped-back ear
Now held in
Memories
And photos-
Your once
Brown spots
Long-since
Turned gray
Eighty
In our years
You lived
A long life
Especially
For a runt-
Grateful
For our time
Spent sitting
In the sun

I don’t typically post twice in one day, but I could not let the year pass without sharing about our sweet Poppy girl. We miss her so…

Left Walking

Walking
Hand in hand
First day
To last
One often
Seen as
Enemy
Of the other
Giver vs. taker-
Picture them
Working
Together
One aiding
The body
Along its path
The other
Waiting
To embrace
Spirit, once
The temporary
Gives out
Death
A part of
Life
Not determiner
Of its end-
This journey
Shares its
Insight-
Those
Left walking
Walk with broken hearts

Thinking of all those grieving the loss of someone close.

Surrounding Skies

Heaviness
Lingers
In the quiet
Struggles
Of others
On this cold
Fall morning
Though
Not mine
Fragments
Of their pain
Filter thru
My thoughts
The sky
Is clear
And blue
From my
Vantage
While clouds
Of grief and
Sadness fill
Surrounding
Skies
Needing
To release
Waiting for
Assurance
That it is ok
For the rain
To fall
Even on
The clearest
Of days

Only Tears

Driving home
In darkness
News of the day
Settled in
Sorrow
For lives
Once again
Tragically taken
Sadness
For those
Left to grieve
The unthinkable
Each of us
Knows loss
Death is part
Of this life-
But for this…
No words
Only tears
Falling from
My eyes
Only tears
Falling
From the sky
Driving home
In darkness

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

A Weeping World

A child
A spouse
A sibling
A parent
Helplessly watched
A man lying
On the ground
A knee pressed down
Their parent
Their spouse
Their sibling
Their child
Pleading for breath
Calling out for Mama
His cries for mercy
Ignored-then silenced
A family left
Grieving as their
Loved one’s name
Is added to a list-
Individuals deprived
Of liberty and life
Because of the
Color of their skin-
A weeping world
Refuses to look away
A weeping world
Refuses to be silenced

Come Together

When I was a child, I looked forward to visits with family. I was always asking to go next door to visit Grandma and Grandpa Mahar or walk over to Aunt Sharon’s house. I loved it when the family would visit from out of town. Everyone together, talking and laughing, catching up-all felt right with the world.

As an adult, I cherish family time even more. Through the years I have experienced the many reasons families come together. Births, deaths, graduations, weddings, funerals-No matter the situation, there is strength in being together. Whether it brings celebration or grief, each event is part of this life.

Yesterday, our family celebrated one of those happy times together-a wedding shower for our son, Robert and his fiancé, Erin. Our home was filled with family and friends, young and old, life-long and new. It was a great day!

The happy couple. ❤

We ate food together and played games. We smiled while watching Rob and Erin open gifts, thankful for all the expressions of love. We enjoyed each other’s company.

Lovely flowers thanks to my friend, Marina. 🙂

Yet, even in the celebration, there were also tears. Tears for those family members no longer with us. Thoughts of how much they would have loved the day. Thoughts of how much they are missed.

Our lives continue on, though we have no guarantee of our length of time. And we honor the memories of those who came before when we come together.

Comfort and Joy

Today is Christmas Eve, 2019. That does not sound possible. As a child growing up in the 1970s, the year 2020 was hard to fathom. And yet, here we are.

This time of the year causes me to reflect. I remember Christmas Eve parties at my Grandma and Grandpa Mahar’s house. Surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sharing our favorite snacks and sweet treats. Drinking lime sherbet and ginger ale punch. Those were beautifully simple times.

Added to those memories are the ones of my own children growing up. Christmas programs, music, opening presents, traveling to visit grandparents. Now they are grown. I wonder what parts they will remember in twenty years.

This year, we are hosting Gart’s side of the family on Christmas Day. They will gather in our home tomorrow. We have some new faces in our family. More people to love, to help heal the holes left by those we miss.

Although my Christmas reflections are predominantly happy, I recognize that is not the case for everyone. Many have faced unspeakable tragedies. Ones that do not simply vanish with time.

I want those friends to know it is ok to be sad, even amid celebrations. I should not expect them to just put on a happy face. And I hope they are not afraid to share their grief.

A friend recently shared the following verse with me.

“You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not recorded in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

The image of God collecting my tears in a bottle was powerful and comforting. On this Christmas Eve, I pray that thought brings you comfort and joy.

I also want to share some of my favorite carols. These are my own simple arrangements. Hope you enjoy! Merry Christmas! 🙂

Missing Papa

Grief often invades without warning. This was my experience several nights ago, as I drifted off to sleep. Suddenly, my mind was reliving the night my father-in-law, Bob, passed away. Every detail as clear as that night, over three years ago. The tears began to flow.

Why are these thoughts appearing now? Upcoming graduations. Bob was so proud of his grandkids. And graduations were a big deal! Not something he would ever miss.

Ryan, the youngest, graduates high school in less than two weeks. Bob would be smiling, telling his friends about Ryan’s creative artwork and college plans.

My favorite picture of Bob and Ryan.

Rachel, the youngest granddaughter, graduates college at the same time. Bob would certainly brag to his friends, “You remember my granddaughter, Rachel? She already has a teaching job for next year!”

Color coordinated! 😉

His absence will be felt when each of them walks across the stage. I wish he was here. Such is the nature of grief.

This will not be a one-time experience. Future events will most assuredly bring similar emotions. Yet, we must continue to celebrate. Celebrate the present while remembering the past. Remembering the love of a Papa who would do absolutely anything for his grandkids.

Our whole family is missing Papa. And it’s okay to say it out loud. Saying it out loud brings us closer together. It helps us remember how much he loved us and how much we love him.

Purposefully Remembering

Today marks three years since my father-n-law, Bob died. Each of us remembers him in our own way, with our own actions. Most importantly, we purposefully remember. We choose certain things that to others might seem insignificant, but to us say Papa, Dad, Bob.

Here are a few:

Peanut butter on pancakes
Wild Cherry Pepsi
Chocolate covered cherries
Lego sets
Family photos
Catholic Mass
Barbecue rib dinner
Extra whipped cream on your dessert
A cigar and sip of Drambuie

Finding words may be difficult, but incorporating these little things into our day help us remember him and smile. Each item represents something we know he enjoyed or something he would often get for us. He was always generous. Always thinking about his family. Loved to spoil his grandkids.

We miss him…grateful that the life he lived continues to influence ours.