Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One amazing life...

In memory of my sister, Sarah Geraldine “Gerry” McGregor Harden.  
August 1, 1930 – October 13, 2011
I was in Chicago when the sad news came.  My sister had lost her courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  She was, at that moment, in Heaven…surrounded by a host of loved ones who’d gone before.  The Bible says “absent from the body, present with the Lord”.  Praise God!
I changed my reservations and flew South.  My plans had been to travel South on Sunday and spend the week with my sister…but Heaven needed her sooner.    On Sunday, we celebrated the amazing life of my beautiful sister at her funeral service in the church she has attended for 50+ years. There in the midst of the beautiful stained glass windows and an exquisite blanket of Autumn flowers, a host of family and friends met to remember and grieve together. I was reminded of the song “Thank You for giving to the Lord” for that is what she did.  Because she loved her Saviour, she gave so selflessly…to each and every one of us, her family…and the very long line of friends at the church. We love you and miss you, Gerry, but we’ll see you again in Heaven. How I thank God that I am so blessed to call you SISTER.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth of July...

Mama was born on July 4, 1904, in the "hills" of Mississippi to parents of Irish ancestry...parents who cherished their six children, three sons and three daughters. As a young woman, Mama had strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes and was very petite. Even at her tallest, before the osteoporosis in later years, she was barely five feet. Although she never had the opportunity to pursue training, she could play the piano and organ "by ear" and sang beautifully. An accomplished seamstress, she possessed an amazing talent with a needle and thread. Through the years, she made much of our clothing, quilts and curtains. She was artistic and could sketch whatever she wanted to create. Down through the years, I would see these same talents emerge in her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In the course of working on my family's ancestry, I found a newspaper clipping from the newspaper in the small Mississippi town where she, my dad and my sisters lived before I was born. There was a description of the large fourth of July birthday party the family gave for Mama and all the relatives who attended. It talks about everyone enjoying the great food, especially the homemade ice cream. I could just imagine all those tables set up outside beneath those tall Mississippi pines on a hot summer's day.

All through the years as I was growing up, and even when my children were young, my sisters and our families would get together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the fourth of July for Mama's birthday.  In later years, when everyone had their own traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was the Fourth of July that became our family reunion time...and a celebration of Mama's birthday. It was a fun time with the entire family together, celebrating with an abundance of good food and much laughter. 

After Mama and Daddy both passed away, my sisters and I tried to continue the fourth of July tradition. Eventually, the family grew even larger with an ever widening circle as each of our children married, had children and started traditions of their own.   In time, the fourth of July celebration was just a memory...but a deeply embedded one

My sisters and I...about 1960.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day...

Today is Father's Day and my mind is full of memories. I was 45 years old when I lost my Dad at the age of 86. I look back now and realize that forty-five was young to lose my father, but my children would be younger still when they lost their Dad.

Life is precious...and altogether fragile. Five years ago, my children and I came face to face with that fact when their father had a sudden massive coronary; and, at the all too young age of 62, he was gone. He had been the love of my life for forty years...four decades. We'd had a sad ending to our story for after 39 years of marriage, it had ended in divorce. My heart had been broken, but I had loved him still even then. Seven and a half months later, he was gone. I was left with memories and a string of what-ifs. It was an extremely hard time for my children and me. We'd all had so much to deal with in the loss of the family as we'd known it and then a loss so great it would take years to heal. Time helps a little. Over time, pain has a way of softening at the edges.

He was a wonderful Dad and my children miss him so much. I miss him.  I'm sad that he never really knew our grandchildren as they got older. That hurts a lot. I try to talk about him when I'm with them. I tell them little ways my son or daughter is like their father. I show them pictures and I tell them about him. I don't want them to forget him...although they were so young they barely remember him. I'd like to think that somehow he will know it when our newest grandbaby...a precious little girl...is born this September.  I love my children so very much and I'm glad he was their father. 

He died in the month of April, and that first Father's Day after his death, there was so much pain and hurt for all of us.  I wanted something that would, in a way, be "from him" for our children.  For our daughter, I chose the little Willow Tree "Father and Daughter" carving and for our two sons the "Father and Son" carving.  I hope each time they look at it, they remember all the good times and the great memories...for there were a lot of those.

I'm in the process of scanning forty years worth of photos...a lifetime.  I want each of my children to have a record of our family.  It will take me a while but this is important; and I will get it done.

Just a few of the memories of a lifetime...
(The order of everything is still a time-intensive work-in-progress but I wanted to show the slideshow with this post.)

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