Friday, September 25, 2015

Grief and Gratitude

We are going fishing soon to a place that is part of my make up.
A place that Dad loved and took us to several times a year.

 The year he passed, we started a tradition of getting together as a family once a year in the Fall for a camping trip to our favorite fishing spot.
A chance for the cousins to make memories.
A place to feel closer together and closer to Dad.

 It's a small piece of iconic America.
Unchanged since the 60's.
Maybe even before.
Where the kids bug the poor owner for candy in his shop Mom and Dad have to tell them to take a break.

 We hike and take in the sweetness of leaves crisp and colored.
The kids play, swing, and ride bikes.
But mostly we fish.

And run from too-friendly raccoons that think you have a treat for them.

I can feel him Dad.
He is on the dock with us, sitting on the bench, baiting his hook.
Just there, the happiest with his family. That was his love and his legacy.
And that gives us joy.

{ Dad and his brother top right. Both went home 2011 & 2013}.

I think all too often we think that grief goes away, and we tuck it away it deep down inside...
carrying on with life and getting used to a new normal.
I am not sure that grief ever does elude a person who loses someone they love so much.
 I still shed tears almost daily because I miss my Dad.
I can feel his heart strings tied to mine all the way to heaven.
But I am grateful for that.
 I am grateful for love that transcends.
Pain dulls a little over time, but that empty spot is still open in my heart.

A friend shared this quote with me the other day, and I think it sums up what God means to do with our grief.

The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other
 and to be stretched large by them.
How much sorrow can I hold?
That's how much gratitude I can give.

I am so grateful for the gift my Dad is even to this day.
That hole in my heart if filled with a certain warm cup of thankfulness that I am stretched farther in my faith, farther in my empathy and understanding of others, widened to what it means to have another day together.

It's true: grief really can fill a heart with gratitude :)



Simply At Home said...


Unknown said...

Looks like a peaceful place to be going! Love that you and your family make the time to go and remember your dad.Have a wonderful time and know he is there with you! Love that quote.

aimee said...

Beautiful! You are SO right about grief. It doesn't go away because you are left with that empty place in your heart. Lovely, lovely setting and lovely memories too. May you have a blessed time there with your family embracing both past memories and making new ones.
Blessings, Aimee

Gumbo Lily said...

You make me smile. God bless you as you remember.

Linda said...

A beautiful post. Hope your visit there will bring you both joy and comfort....

Anonymous said...

I am touched in more ways than I can explain by this post. You are so dear, this was a beautiful post, a peak into your heart and soul. and the quote was like balm on a grief wounded heart, so many taken too soon.

Fiona said...

What a beautiful way to honor and remember your Father and Uncle
Love always binds us together on earth and in Heaven
Thank you for Sharing Julia

Thinking of you all

♥ Fiona

Kristina said...

Such a beautiful legacy to carry on!Thank you for sharing.

Betty said...

Just a lovely post and a lovely new tradition your family has now to make new memories and remember old ones, thank you for sharing. I just finished reading another bloggers post entitled "A Memorable Love" that I thought was going to be about a long lost lover but turned out to be about her father who had passed 29 years ago. Then I scrolled down and was drawn to read your "Grief and Gratitude" which also turned out to be about a special dad. As I was reading I realized that tomorrow is the anniversary of my own fathers passing 19 years ago. So I have the feeling he is reaching out to me today. Hugs,

Amanda said...

Would be nice yes, if we were chatting over a cup of tea;-)

Grief yes, but gratitude for today well lived. Some awful beautiful thoughts here this morning. And to think of the fine tradition your family has started with all of these children that will pass to the next generation...

Happy Fall!

Kaitlin@Homemaker Design said...

This was so beautiful and that quote at the end....such truth! I'm tearing as I read through this, missing my own dad and enjoying your family's way of remembering and celebrating your dad's life and love! ♥ I read an article about grief and the author talked about how the degree of hurt never changes (time does NOT heal, as they say) but that the frequency of how often your feel the hurt gets longer in between and how long the pain lasts shortens. So that you always feel the loss, the pain of missing them, but over time it's not all consuming and as often. There is much growth in grief and though I would love to change it...I wouldn't want to change the new way I know God through my losses. I'm going to hold onto that quote, thank you so much for sharing this and your words here! ♥ :) ((hug))

Julia said...

Kaitlin, you are ever so right! That is exactly how I feel the pain now :) Big hugs to you, too. Your Dad was probably a wonderful man with such love for his family, too.


Anonymous said...

Just reading this today, 10/5/15, a month since my daughter passed away. Thanks for the inspiring words. Jackie

Julia said...

Jackie, my heart goes out to you. May God just wrap you in His love and give you comfort.

A Big Hug From Me~


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