Coming Around Again

When my dad came in not too long ago, he brought a lot of things with him. Things I’ve had to work my way through. Lots of family pictures. My mom’s purse as it was left the day she had her stroke. Her phone with my last text to her. Her tablet loaded with medical records and pictures…her rosary from high school. When time stopped, I suppose I just forgot about the time leading up to that moment. So many years that came before. Of them. Of us. Of my kids. When we were all together. None of that stopped or was erased. It only seemed like it. For a while.

I found pictures of my grandparents and extended family I never really knew. Baby pictures of my oldest in third hand clothes, back when my wife and I barely had money to develop film.

And pictures my brother had sent home from various trips that I’d never seen. As the movie goes “he was smiling. You know, smilin’ that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face till the very end”. And I’m sure he did. It comes from my dad. And I still see it in him even today through all the years and heartache on his face. One of my very favorite things about him. It was when I knew everything was okay. Or maybe he was done being mad. That we were all okay again.

My daughter leaves for New York tonight. Off to spend the summer with her boyfriend and his family. And, as has been typical lately, it’s made me think. It makes me wonder what memories she’ll be sifting through twenty years out. The struggles she’ll be looking back on with whoever she decides to have take that journey with her. And who she’ll be missing. My dad won’t be around, most likely. But she’ll know him. And I’ll remember him through her. Because I see him in her every day.

And, somehow, as I see who she’s growing into, I find more of myself in her each day even though I could never measure the courage and strength she’s taught me. Without even knowing. I’ll miss her. But I want her to go. This is how time begins to move forward. For her and for me.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my father. And I finally have it. My mom took this when they visited Stations of the Cross together as teenagers. Their relationship was still new. She, no doubt, had the rosary with her that she carried until her last day. I see these private moments between them when so much lied ahead, a whole life. And I wonder how much of all this they ever saw. Or if they ever even looked. I can’t be sure.

I know where we are now. But I’m glad to be able to know and see all that came before regardless of what lies ahead.

Sam

There are few of me that I connect with the way I do this one, where I’m actually reminded of where *I* come from. That I am a part of him. I will be proud, one day far off, to be even a small bit of the man my father has been to all of us. Through everything and back again.

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32 thoughts on “Coming Around Again

  1. This was actually beautiful. Some people never think these things and to hear someone else who does…well it’s refreshing. I’m going to have a hard time when it’s time for me to let my babies go fly. Luckily you have a bonus baby still around.
    Isn’t it so weird to think of your parents before their focus wasn’t you. Like how they were as people not as parents. That happened to me once I had my first baby. The realization that this same thing happened to my mother once really hit home. She was once just a person with her own dreams and plans for her life way before she was my mama.
    I hope you enjoy these times with your dad. I didn’t know it at the time but those last years I helped my parents as their bodies failed, were a gift. I got to ask the questions I’d wanted to without the hesitation as a child (you know adults don’t tell the kids the full truth). I was able to learn about their past and their feelings and about their fears. I found out what the most important things in their lives were and I know you can guess it was our family.
    This life is fast and sometimes we need to grab ahold to it and enjoy the hell of the moments….good, bad, and ugly.
    Nice read.
    **your daughter looks EXACTLY like your father!!! That’s so crazy. You probably do too but you hold back your smile in the pictures I’ve seen. You’ve only giving it partially aren’t you…don’t lie! It’s your approved picture smile isn’t it. Your APS! 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes he is *definitely* facing a lot lately. Things have come up that he’s always had to keep a steely face and heart for. The way he talks about my mom has never changed though. I like that. Anyhow a lot of old family stories I never really knew, or was oblivious to. The parts can all fit together once everyone is grown, and we can let them fit again. I’m sure he’d be fine never dealing with stuff, maybe, but he internalizes a lot based on the expectations of his tough guy image. Sigh. So…it’s been good.

      It’s funny cause I had a space in my teeth for so much of my life, that I got used to never showing them. I forget still that I, A. Don’t have to care anymore and B. The space is obviously gone. My daughter does the same with hers. Maybe one day.

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  2. Oh and btw, she’s gorgeous! She’s one of those girls/women who can throw their hair up in a messy bun and spend the day at the beach and walk off the beach still looking great with that messy bun. When I leave the beach I look disheveled!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🤗🤗🤗 I have to say, I wont miss all the hair everywhere this summer! Sooo….much….hair!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It helps to see ourselves in others. It helps to understand that in most moments we are all doing the best that we can. And to remember that we are all human.

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    1. Absolutely 😔 Reflecting on these circles and cycles of life has helped me find mirrors in my family, and also to be them. It’s helped me understand connections that I once didnt.

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  4. Memories…both good and bad are to keep us grounded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% He’s been filling in some spaces for me too…things I honestly had no clue about as a child or raising my own kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a well written post, made complete by the photos. Quite the resemblance between all of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! 🤗🤗 There was so much more I wanted to include with everything that’s come up and out of the woodwork but…I’ll let those other things settle in my heart for a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my gosh. Had me crying on the way to the airport this morning. This was so beautiful, Sam. Thank you for this precious look into your life. I know you are intensely private and so this was just…..special.

    These girls. Growing up so fast and taking pieces of our hearts with them even as they become exactly what we want them to be: strong, independent. And our parents, growing older in front of us, every day….This in between stage is so heavy sometimes. I’m glad I know other people who are going through it too.

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    1. Thank you… for acknowledging the privacy aspect…😔 It has been abused at times but, sharing with an open heart is rewarding. To me.

      Absolutely. 😔 I fully stand by having learned more in this in between than ever before. And heavy is an accurate word. It’s hard to make room for all of it, and fit all the past lessons in, well, here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely message, it’s hard when the children grow up and start to go away! Happy Father’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is, I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet! Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a lovely post, Sam. And even I can see the similarities between you, your daughter and your dad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much 😊😊😊 Sometimes it feels like we are all so incredibly different and it’s comforting to remember the ways we aren’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. When my Mom went through all of my Grandmother’s belongings, after moving my Grandfather out of the family house over a year ago…that ‘Mama’ (what we called our grandmother) put her blood, sweat and tears into, she also had to go through her Mama’s closet. Things were left as they were, since I was in 7th grade…when she passed away. The same smells were still there. Old notes that she had written. Bills she had paid. The scent of mothballs and Jean Nate….(which I have church veils from her closet that still smell like her). My mom found her diary, and we sat on the phone for over an hour, as she read her Mother’s thoughts out loud to me. It was incredible and intense. A lot made sense. Questions were answered. More questions were asked. Closure, and then, not so much. But we definitely had a realization of her personality, and how much we were like her and *not like her. I remember when I first grieved her…..I was 23, and I woke up in the middle of the night, with this intense longing to hear her voice. And I just cried. She was always praying. Always singing her gospel songs as much as her health would allow, and those were things I held on to, that *still get me through. Getting older we reach back to those places that we didn’t quite get, *then….but as our own lives change, we understand our parents more. We see ourselves in them. We see our children in them. Thank you for this post. It was necessary and helpful.

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    1. Oh lord….the assessing of ‘things’ afterward is so hard..my dad had to do that when his mom gave up the family home. And I suppose I’ll be doing it myself eventually. I didn’t expect all the things he brought but I think he’s always felt if he left it to me he could keep things the way he wants in his mind. I have a journal of my grandpas from when he was in his teens, very cool.

      I’m still working through what to hang on to and what to let go. We did have that closure with my mom. But I havent in other cases. Sometimes I have to step back from feeling like we all lived ‘separate’ lives, and were all separate people… for a long time we did not. We were tight knit, and its hard feeling like that all didnt fall apart within a few years. If you dont step back and see it for what it was, when it was, it can leave you feeling like it was an illusion. Which isnt comfortable. Or true.

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      1. I have veilos (head/hair coverings for church) from my Grandmother, fancy handbags and shawls. Also pieces of her notes. I feel like a lot of people depended on Ila, to hold the family together, with her devotion to God. I was the “black sheep” that thought, after Momma passed…..’why don’t you guys learn how to survive on your own prayers!?’ I was a kid then, with that thought. I had gone into survival mode. Which is probably why I didn’t grieve until I was in my 20’s. I started watching the family fall a part, walk away from God, etc. I was determined to keep her reputation and hard work over her family, going. That’s when I started doing foreign Missions, because she was a Missionary, and eventually I realized that was actually my own calling. Everything she did wasn’t going to be in vain. Then the dependency to keep hope and faith alive in my family, fell on my shoulders for a long time. Me and Grandmother were two different people in personality. I wasn’t having it. (I’ll pray for you but, pray for yourselves.) The family grew up, and I also realized, it was their grief as well, missing such a strong person of faith from the family. They felt lost without her there. But what made her the way she was, was the God she loved. He has always been there.

        We are just **now** coming together, in our family quilt, in tattered pieces. We are finding that we need one another, because life is changing in everyone’s homes. Since my Grandfather has been needing extra care, everything is coming out of the woodworks…. roots, hard truths, skeletons, bonding, separating, culture, language, distant family. It is all so much more intense at this point. We have added on to the family tree, by welcoming Jill and her son to the family, a high school friend of my oldest sister. And this has all come from parental life changes. It is amazing how this cycle of survival and need works.

        We all *do live separate lives, physically…..but we are all woven together at heart. When we get to the heart of life, in family, we all fall from the same tree.

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        1. How do you reconcile the time that might feel lost…where things were in upheaval. Missing parts. In upset. I am having trouble seeing the good parts of the past through any frame other than the times that do seem lost and like an illusion. I need to compartmentalize each piece to its own time…maybe. Or maybe its all just a sum of those parts. 😔😔😔

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          1. By focusing on the the time that wasn’t. Every family story has storms, and even the debris from that, builds us into who we are. Look at where those upsetting parts took you, when the storms *did settle. The people it brought into your path….even those it swept away (for your safety and for your sanity). And sometimes it takes time to see the light through those dark moments. And it’s okay to take time getting there. As long as you keep moving, even slowly. Just keep moving forward. I was 11 when my Grandmother went home. 23 when I finally cried about it. Time. It’s like the puzzles that you piece together. They are everywhere, until piece by piece you organize them, and then you finally put them together, creating art. Something so excellent…. starting off as a massive pile of pieces. At times overwhelming. There is no rush in any of this.

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            1. There have been many people in my family who swept themselves out. Created reasons to distance themselves from the rest of us. As Ive said the belittling about my mom. Judgment. All people who were part of my raising and traditions so i feel very disillusioned at times.

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            2. There’s a lot of adapting, a lot of starting over, a lot of starting your own new traditions with the family unit you are currently Blessed with. Remembering your Momma and talking about your Dad the way you do keeps those traditions very much alive in your life, and for your babies…with or without the many people in your family who swept themselves out.
              Just breathe….. you’re going to be okay, and so are your girls.♡

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            3. You’re right, the new traditions do help. I forget that. I dont think its ever an easy time to let go of the good old days…its always just memories. Maybe not necessarily always ‘good’. But tradition is that for a reason, I suppose. Its hard to see the forest for the trees when so many things have changed from when i was young, to look that far out for my kids. Blah, anyway, just hard letting go of the way things used to be even when they weren’t all that good at times.

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            4. Memories serve their purpose. Life may never happen the same way again, but it is a part of us, and will be for the rest of our days. We have the greatest opportunity now, to change what needs to be changed, and keep those traditions that have brought out the best in us. It’s not letting go….. it’s enhancing and making better.🌹🐝

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            5. 😭😭😭….not ready in the slightest. It’s a huge responsibility to carry when you’re aware of the goals.

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  10. love love love this. And your daughter is beautiful. Love how you opened up. I know you are super private, and I love how you showed a little of yourself. My husband Is much of the same way, he is super quiet and does not like to talk about his feelings or the past or even the future to much. But I am a complete open book. But I feel that I only have been given one life and if I hold back and not allow people to see who I really am, or how I really feel, then what is the purpose of life. I feel if I had to hide who I am and be quiet I would eventually burst at the seems. I am who I am and I can’t change that. I don’t want to change that. I don’t care what people think about me, I have fun, and be myself. We all have something to be proud of. We all go through things in our life that we struggle with. We are all the same. (and I think I am rambling…. lol) Anyway. I love this, and it was precious and glad you shared it with us. Take Care Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I am indeed pretty private about my family (and our issues therein 😔). Not a whole lot else, but it does help to open up every so often for support. I find when I dont ask for it, I absolutely won’t get it, which is natural, I just forget. Until it feels like Im the only one struggling when I know I can’t possibly be. Its good to hear from you, thank you again!!!

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      1. Your welcome. And by the way you are not the only one struggling. Trust me 😉 Hope you have a Happy 4th.

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