Tag Archives: fathers

Sign Sigh

That moment you tell your father you’re going to park in his yard

on the days you take the train –

and you realize he’s pointing to his response.

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There’s a Part III ?!?!

Yes, there is. My last entry was meant to be a one part sequel. However, our summer downsizing project seems to be on the upswing. Baby girl helped Dad clean his bedroom closet!  The cleaning follow-up post-it notes  have been irritating but getting him to toss items makes her the queen of motivational cleaning!!

She knows exactly how to coerce and manage him. It was clear from the first note that she got his buy-in to approach the not-in-a-million-years project:

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I was still the one to lug them away and make the drop-off but I did it with a spring in my step and the spirit of Santa Claus.  I also have a documented audit trail so there can be no backlash!

The next note I reacted to with the same enthusiasm:

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I couldn’t take the trash out to the garage fast enough!

Of course I still inherited work from their labor…

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…but it’s nice to know they think I’m the entrepreneur of the family.

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It was also sweet to learn my daughter wants to wear an old camouflage sweater from Dad’s younger days.

What I had a problem with was when I saw they had questioned my decorating skills:

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No, we are not getting rid of my two Currier prints in the antique frames with the original bubble glass.

No, we are not getting rid of my inspiring Soyer print.

No, we are not getting rid of great uncle Harrison’s heirloom.

I’ll bow to the queen for helping us clean a closet but I am not her court jester.

Immaculate Conception

The plan was to attend Mass at our home parish. I called my dad to say I was on the way and he said he’d since like to go to the next town.  The Deacon there had prayed for my Dad last year and helped him in a time of crisis.  I welcomed the chance to meet him and didn’t mind the change in venue just this once.

That’s not all there was to it.

I also met Father Tom and a father, Tom. Father Tom, the latter, and his wife are my sister’s in-laws. I’d forgotten they’d retired to Lancaster.

We also saw Bill whom we mutually know from different circles. Mass was being said for his own father.

Mass hadn’t even started yet and it seemed like we were there for reasons other than the Deacon’s sermon.

I also personally enjoyed the music before Mass even started. Angels wings were around us in sound and sight.  My father’s name is Ralph and as the hymn started I realized there was a picture of Raphael watching over us.

The March for Life is this week on the Washington mall, so that was the focus of the sermon. I felt inspired to sign-up for the bus from the cathedral.  I’m still considering it as I write this post.

What had the most impact for me was communion in that church. First of all, they have the bells after each time Jesus speaks at the last supper.  I remember them from my childhood but our parish has long done away with that tradition. Secondly, the Deacon’s reverence was loud and clear as the co-celebrant. It was obvious before I met him why he was a key part of my Dad’s healing. Most importantly, I can’t recall the last time the body and blood of Christ impacted me more. After communion, with the music playing from above – another thing I miss from our original church that burned down in the 90’s – a total calm came over me and I was transported somewhere. Kneeling in my pew  I listened to the hymn in total reverence  but didn’t say a particular prayer.  I told God I just wanted to take it all in. That’s when there was a really bright light under my closed eyes that only got brighter as the music sank into my soul. I knew there were tears forming but I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, control them.  Words and laureates will never be able to help explain those moments in time for me…

…what broke me from my peaceful home was Congregational laughter.  Evidently, someone’s high-pitched alarm had gone off, that nobody seemed to respond to, so Father finally asked who had to get to the fire?

I wiped my eyes but remained in complete peace while we met our friends after the final blessing. I think somehow the Deacon helped me this time.  I’m still not sure what it all means or what I experienced. The one thing I do know is this certainly isn’t the last time I’ll transcend to Lancaster.

That’s all there is to it.

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Tested Faith

My father had his faith tested earlier this year. It was painfully in front of all of us to witness and try to determine how, and IF, we could even help. One of my sisters managed the appointments and meds. We were all continually checking in at the house. I visited at night and took him to Mass on the weekends.

A friend at work had asked how he was doing. She’d met my Dad only briefly the year prior. They got along famously for those few short minutes. He is a religious man and she is a Christian life coach. I never witnessed such an immediate bond. I’d also never talked to her about spirituality until the day she inquired about my father. I told her he wasn’t good at all and to please pray for him. I let her know how helpless we all were. She told me to pray for wisdom.

I never knew that was an option. So I did. I also tried to read parts of the book of Wisdom that night.

That Saturday, my father and I went to 4:00 Mass again.

The readings included Matthew 14:22-36. It stayed with me and I wished my father had his faith at the time he needed it the most.

The next day I went to his house and gave him one of my toy boats. I told him, “Ralph, just get out of the boat.”

That was all. I knew it wasn’t a quick fix but it seemed like a needed visual.

That boat has been on his kitchen table for months. If he wasn’t focused on it, I certainly was every time I visited.

Only a short time ago, my Dad started to seem like himself again. He was less anxious. He stopped dwelling on the past and worrying about the present. The family started saying it out loud – “Dad is going to be okay.” My father was talking about the future again. Reading. Writing. Engaging. It was a long road for him and I was glad he’d finally turned onto a new path.

I went to the house to pick him up for Mass again this weekend. My father had a package for me to open. I didn’t know why he was giving me something or what to expect. When I opened the lid, I understood. It was his note of confirmation – and the boat.

When I saw it, the water was tears down my face.

It HAD helped. My father IS saved – and I AM a believer.