The importance of family is weighing on my mind lately. I can not emphasize how important it is to spend time with your loved ones during this special time of year when most of us experience warm and beautiful weather.
On May 4th, 2016, my 83 year old father passed away, rather suddenly. This sort of explains my lack of blogging lately, although there is more to the story. On January 15th, I took a terrible fall walking into my son's high school "away" basketball game. It was freezing rain outside and the floor was shiny, slick and wet. I slipped and tore my left hamstring muscle completely from the bottom of the pelvic bone. My surgery occurred on January 29th, to reattach the hamstring muscle which had rolled up like a window shade mid-femur in my left leg. I was in a traction device and spent the next 6 weeks non-weight bearing on that leg, then another 4 weeks on crutches and my rehab continues currently. My mom and dad came valiantly to my rescue, in their usual loving style. My dad functioned as a human crutch for me and when there were a few unusually warm days in March, my dad was able to get me outside to our back patio so that I could sit in the sunshine with him.
During this time, Catholic apparel and my quest for modest fashions took a backseat to a hospital gown and a harness-type apparatus around my waist, which disallowed putting on pants or other clothing with any kind of ease. I was "hamstrung" and no pun intended. Once ambulatory and down to one crutch, my dad suddenly took ill, unexpectedly. From diagnosis to his untimely death, it was 2 weeks. This devoutly Catholic man was the most humble human being in my little world, and now after watching his tremendous fight for every single breath, I now have one more adjective phrase to add to his already stellar character…THE BRAVEST. I was with him when he took his last breath and I prayed the Divine Chaplet at his hour of death, knowing that Our Lord would immediately come to his side and take him to heaven.
As I write this, I look at the small "shrine" I have to him on my kitchen counter…a beautiful picture, his funeral mass program and another funny program that we gave out at the funeral, chockfull of super fun musings and antedotes of fatherly wisdom I learned from him since early childhood. I will tell you guys more, if you'd like to know more…I think my blogs could be filled for years to come just based on what an amazing dad I had. His life lessons to all of us are legendary. And here is something amazing… which proves that God chooses the weak and makes them strong…I stood up at my dad's Mass of Christian Burial and gave the brief remarks about my inspirational dad with everyone in attendance! I miss him so much, but daily weekday mass followed by a brief stop in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel is making the world seem right again.
So….you are probably reading this and wondering when I am going to get on with talking about my wish for you and for your families. And here it is…Take time with your loved ones. Long before my dad's passing, he always had a way of finishing every conversation or every visit with this phrase, "What's the bottom line?"…to which each of my sibs and his grandchildren were compelled to respond, "that you love us," or else you were not released from the "body lock" bear hug that you found yourself in. I used to think, "gosh dad…you're not going anywhere!!!"…and I played along…Little did I realize that my dad was just as human as the rest of us, and his time had come to turn in his daily dungarees for his heavenly crown. Gosh, I miss him:).
Sooo…my wish for you for summer…ENJOY QUALITY TIME WITH THOSE YOU LOVE…got it???? I hope so. Enjoying and loving our families gives honor and glory to God because family was a gift that He gave to us. In fact, the nativity scene embodies this, as God wanted us to know at that Christmas moment that there is just nothing more important to celebrate than the gift of family. The summer months give us the perfect time to reconnect with one another!!
And here's a couple more words that come to mind as you go on your way; on this very day to enjoy time with your children, grandchildren, relatives and friends…phone calls count too!!! WHY are we all sooo into texting and not into talking anymore??? So sorry for yet another diversion:)….soooo back to the matter at hand :)….Here are the words; words that elicit happiness when our families gather near: CHERISH. HUG. LOVE. PLAY. FORGIVE. And take many photos, even if they are mental ones…sometimes those are the best ones because they can make you smile at anytime!!! Untether from your phones and get your loved ones to do the same; sit next to and look at your loved ones in the eyes; and get OUTSIDE, together…remind your children of the beauty in nature; the green grass; tall trees; sandy beaches; and plentiful waterways…all under the best blue sky canopy that no one other than God could have dreamed up. And lastly, do what you say you are going to do. Keep your promises to your kids. I know sometimes I will say to my kids, "just a minute…" and the "minute" becomes an hour or two:(. Strive everyday to make each day a day of loving existence and not just a day of routine existence. Make an effort to pray as a family and to pray FOR your family daily. AND, of course…remember what God doesn't want you to ever forget…It is identical to what my dad wanted me to know…and that is, "HE LOVES YOU!"
Until next time…