Sunday, December 23, 2012

Angels We Have Heard on High

After my last post, I found myself missing Frances Eden.  I got her out again, thinking she'd see me through until New Year's and a start on my Scarlet Letter, Ann Grimshaw. Since then, I've found joy in Frances' perfect angels, especially with the bittersweet events that have happened in the last weeks.

 
I lost my sweet Dad on December 7th.  Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile will remember a story I shared about him on Father's Day.  Of course, our family all gathered for traditional goodbyes, as we should.  I spent precious time with my mother and sisters, sifting through so many pictures that captured Dad through the years.  There were hundreds, but the ones that touched me the most were from his childhood.
 
 
You can tell by this photo that Dad grew up during the hard years of the Great Depression.  Even though times were tough, Dad always told us of how his own father made Christmas happen for their family each year.  There was always a Christmas tree by the fireplace, stockings hung with oranges and sweets inside and a Tiddly-Winks game for a little boy.   From his own father, my Dad learned the joys of the season and the strengthened bonds that grow out of family gatherings. 
 
At the age of 14, Dad also lost his own father just before Christmas.  He never told us much about it, but over the years I've often wondered how terribly sad that must have been.  How could Christmas ever seem complete after such a hard loss?  It felt to me as if a shadow must have fallen on the brightness of the season for him.  And yet, my Dad was always full of holiday cheer as Christmas approached, looking forward to each December homecoming as his family grew up and on with their own lives. 
 
 
 
But I understand now.  My Dad's final lesson for me is perhaps the same one he learned from his own father's loss so close to Christmas.  
 
Family matters, even or perhaps especially, during the hardest of times. 
 
Joy is to be taken whenever it can be found.   
 
Holidays, and life, are to be celebrated because both are far too precious and fleeting.
 
 
I love you Dad.  I will pass your joy into the holidays to come.  So my wish for all who take the time to read this is for a joyous and bright Christmas and the very very best in the new year.

14 comments:

Catherine said...

Beautiful post for your father...hugs....

Erica said...

Beautifully said,Mary.
Those of us who have been through this know just how you feel.
My dad died on Father's Day. Each year on father's day I am so sad, but he always believed in celebrating every chance we had. He lost his father at age 16, and understood how short life could be.
Best wishes for a Happy holiday to you and your family!

Teresa S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa S. said...

The photo of your dad as a boy looks JUST LIKE my dad! Same overalls, same haircut (only no bangs hanging down in front), same Depression-era boyhood. I see your dad still liked his overalls in old age. My dad said that overalls were a sign to teachers and others that you were poor. Does that sound familiar to you?

My dad's family lived on a farm as farm laborers, not the owners. It was WWII that gave my grandpa a job in a wire mill and that brought their family out of abject poverty.

Margaret said...

I lost my mother years ago, but I miss her every day and know what you are going through. Such a lovely post for your father. I love the pic of him as a boy, and the pic of him as a grandfather -- and in both he is wearing his overalls. How appropriate that you are stitching angels now. Hugs.

P.J. said...

What a beautiful post. May your memories bring you joy and peace. It's been 6 years since my grandfather passed on December 15th. He was the sweetest, gentlest sole I have ever known. Thinking of all the joy he brought our family warms my heart and keeps a smile on my face. May you have a joyful holiday with your family.

Faye said...

Cherish his memories and remember the good times.... He sounds like a wonder man.... Faye

marly said...

My sympathy for your loss. His spirit and love obviously continues and will be with you this Christmas and always. What a precious photo.

Dan Lohmar said...

Thank you for sharing. Beautifully said about Dad. He will be missed but it was nice for us all to be together and celebrate the many ways he blessed us in our lives. Now that I know where your blog is I'll be sure to come back to it.

Nicola said...

I love my Father sooo much and your love for yours shines through you post.

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through

Judy L said...

Mary -- Your work and your words are beautiful. Thank you.

Carol said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father, Mary. This must have been a very difficult Christmas for your whole family. I can't imagine how hard it must be to lose a parent, as, at this point, I'm lucky enough to still have both my mom and dad (even though my dad as I knew him is long gone due to the ravages of dementia). I hope that the memories of happy times you've shared with him will carry through any sad days ahead...

Thinking of you and your family...

Lynn said...

Such a loving tribute to your Dad. I am so very sorry for your loss. My father also died shortly before Christmas so I know how difficult the holidays may be for you. Let your memories comfort you and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Lois said...

Mary, I am only now getting caught up on your blog after far too long away. I am so sorry to read about your father's passing, I had no idea it had happened. What a beautiful tribute to him.