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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today is an important day! What have your parents helped you to realize?

My painting of my dad from a photo I took when he was in his 80's.
My dad passed away eight years ago today.  Back in 2006 it was the evening before Easter Sunday.  It really was a perfect time for him although I wished he would have lived forever or at least as long as I will.
Dad carving
I remember thinking many years ago that I had parents who were going to live forever.  I'm not sure many of you think that way about your parents, but my parents had passion for life.  They were always doing something.  Making something or being part of something during their lifetime. I really do think they made the most of their life while here on earth.

Now, after both are gone, I really have started to appreciate them more.  It's interesting to me that when they were alive, there were things or words (mostly my mom), that they said or did that would really bother me or even make me feel bad about myself.  Now, although I haven't forgotten them, I look back on those things and I've learn from them.

My mother was a mix of sternness and kindness.  Sometimes she would say things that just tore right through me (ouch!), and would make me feel really bad, and other times she could say or do something that was so loving.  She could do that to some people too, but mostly she had a kind and helpful heart to many people in her life.  She would visit people less fortunate often bringing them something fresh-baked or gave them a bouquet of flowers or vegetables from her garden.  She would plan her own birthday parties inviting friends over to celebrate!  She also was a passionate woman.  I'm mean passionate in the way that she approached most anything she wanted to do.  "No" was not in her vocabulary!  She was going to do what she wanted.  She had this determination until she passed away.  Even in her later years, suffering intense pain from severe arthritis, that didn't stop her from doing what she wanted.  When she had her stroke near the end of her life, and was mostly wheelchair bound, she would still tell us she had walked around the house three times (she didn't).  The point here is that she still believed she could.  What a lesson for me.
My father was a unique man, even a bit odd.  I loved him.  I think (no, I know), I'm a lot like him, (although he was smarter).  He was good with numbers and I'm not.  He loved to read and I don't.  His mind was thinking all the time and mind does too.  He could make most anything.  He was an inventor and a designer.  He was a silly guy.  I still can still remember when he would say something silly or pull a funny face, and how he would hunch up his shoulders a bit and start laughing.  I can see him grabbing that large bowl of fruit off of the counter, that if no one ate it, it would go bad.  He would sit at the table and eat that whole large bowl full.  Wasting food was not in his vocabulary.  That man could eat and not gain a pound!  I can see him sitting in his chair reading a theology book after a busy day, then see that big yawn as he would take his hand, pulling it through his hair from the front to the back of his head.  I think of all the many things he has made.  A piano tuner, a paddle board (yes, I think he invented them first), a shuffle board, display boxes for an insect collection, an in-the-wall beehive, many precious carvings, tools, wood signs, small furniture pieces, a chicken coop, ponds, waterfalls. I could go on and  on.  It was amazing how he put things together.  My father didn't have that much to say, (probably because my mom always said it for him).  But when he did say something to me it was always kind.  He always had something nice and insightful to say.  If I showed him or told him what I was doing he always listened.

I could go on and on about their full and interesting life, but here are the few things I have learned.  Always keep going, no matter how old you are or how much you hurt.  Don't complain.  Look at the good.  Learn what was good about your parents and teach those good things to your kids so they can teach them to their kids.  Change the negative things, revise them, don't do them, don't repeat them.  Change them so the next generation will be better.  Enjoy your family and your kids.  Laugh with them and share the joy.  Share the good in your life and with your kids.  I hope that when I pass away they will look back someday thinking some good thoughts of me like I do of my parents.

I'm going to celebrate today! I'll be in my studio creating something new!

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