The transition of grief is mysterious to me. Last week I was happily driving to Bible study, then a Classical song came on the radio, which reminded me of hearing a similar piece with my Dad (who passed away last summer), and there I was –crying away. The memory of my Dad and I at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra also made me smile as I recalled how we had gotten a chocolate bar during intermission, and Dad went on to finish it during the next part of the concert—crinkly foil and all! It drove me nuts, but that is just how Dad was: he wanted to do what he wanted to do. I am thankful for his example of fearlessness and savoring the moment. Continue reading
What happens when you connect a Pakistani lady with a proper English Major? There’s some chaos, lots of sweetness, and people learn more about cross-cultural communication.
I pulled Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson off the lending library in our apartment complex and enjoyed reading it in small portions each night! This light fiction book combines charming English countryside with a dash of drama and the conflict that happens when people are learning how to understand each other across cultures.
Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew lived in the same town for years, but didn’t get to know each other until they both had lost spouses and now the Major suddenly lost his brother. Mrs. Ali can relate to him with his grappling with loss, and she even loves books as much or even more than he does.
They start to fall in love, but the other people in the town and even the Major’s only son aren’t so sure.
Add in the Major’s obsession about a pair of Churchill shooting guns that were his father’s and had passed down to his brother and himself, and now that his brother has passed, he wants to reunite the guns. He has to navigate different family member’s opinions…and then all of these threads of story unite into a sweet tale.
I wasn’t completely sold on this book when I started reading it, but Helen Simonson pulled me into the countryside, empathizing with the characters, and made me feel in the middle of the story. She even made me laugh with a ridiculous fight scene, and she wraps up the story in a satisfying way. If you want a light book that deals with the issues of real life, check out Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel. I stayed up late reading a few nights, and I’m still getting up a few times a night with a baby! Find a copy for yourself here:
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She gave us big hugs, smiled at us as we said, “See you at Christmastime!” and waved as we pulled away to make our flight. I can see her smiling and waving in the sunshine with our other family members. We didn’t know that was the last time we got to see Aunt Tricia in person; she passed away from cancer at the end of August. We are so thankful we got to see her when we went in June to my husband’s 20th high school class reunion! She got to snuggle our son, try to get him to fall asleep, hold him while his Aunty Lindsey made him laugh. Continue reading
One of the most comforting words shared with me during this time of grieving for my Dad was, “Your Dad was the first man who held you on his arms and said, ‘I love you.’ ” This first photo is the first photo I have of my Dad holding me. It is so comforting that Dad got to hold my son as well as me.
On June 6th, my son and I went to see my dad. He was dressed in a nice blue shirt and was sitting in his wheelchair in the living room with a lot of other folks who were dozing and quiet. He seemed sleepy, but he perked up when he saw us. His eyes crinkled into a smile and he knew who we were. I gave him a hug and then got Joel out of his car seat, and then Dad reached out to hold Joel!
Dad smiled at Joel And Joel smiled back. Dad held him for about five minutes until his arms got tired (Joel weighs around 25 lb. already), and then he handed him back.
Sherpa, my brother and sister-in-law’s golden retriever, brought sunshine to the room (plus a lot of woofs!) She loved to greet anyone who came into the door with great barks and happy commotion—her joy of seeing you made you feel even more welcome.
I only knew my husband’s Uncle Chris for 2 ½ years, but I remember his leathery cheeks pulled up into a smile that burst with kindness. I first met him at Christmastime when Stephen took me to California to meet his family in 2014. Uncle Chris was Stephen’s Dad’s older brother who lived nearby and loved helping out and driving with us to the airport when we had to fly home.
A year after I met Uncle Chris, Stephen and I were engaged and the family put together a surprise bridal shower for us on New Years Day in 2016. That day we received the only card from him while I knew him, but I am so glad we kept it. He gave us an Amazon gift card (that we used to buy a Tiffany lamp), and he wrote us this message:
Pets bring so much joy that when one passes away, you have to go through the grieving process, just like any other loss. Cards help during those times. Here is one of my pet loss sympathy cards: See more details at: Trees of Transition Cards on Etsy. Helping family and friends through this kind of loss can mean so much.
P.S. A book that has helped me process grief is:
The word to describe yesterday would be bittersweet: In the morning, the reality of my Dad possibly passing away soon hit home. I’m thankful for tears and the release they bring. Then I switched gears to party preparations for a party for my fiancé passing a huge test that advances his career. I went over to his house, turned on a funny movie and got chopping: white chili, finished the red chili, fruit salsa… Continue reading
On Saturday I cried and thought about the Paris tragedy, and these poemy-thoughts emerged: Continue reading
This week a person I worked with on her writing reminded me of my friend Jess. Jess passed away in November of 2013, and the piece I wrote about her has been read by people all over the world (find it here: https://treesoftransition.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/saying-good-bye-to-jess-gelso-andres-processing-the-death-of-a-friend/). Writing that piece about her helped me process the suddenness of her passing. I now need to process a bit more of missing Jess.