I can write about you two, my dear parents because I don’t know anyone better than I do you.
I’ve included some photos I have of you.
Here’s your photo mom
It was taken at your memorial service. It is a picture of a drawing of you and the urn holding your ashes.
We gave you a beautiful memorial, mom. You would’ve loved it. The weather was warm and everybody was talking about you!
Most of your family was gathered and some of your dear friends. Some shed tears, others shared funny stories and a few shared their struggles with you.
I like this picture of you because you are still. Life seemed so painful for you. I remember you in constant physical pain, struggling mentally and not completely understanding how to be in this world.
The silence is peaceful
I hope that you are feeling that peace now.
The silence that has followed since your death has allowed me to see you with more compassion. I can’t imagine how challenging it must have been for you to live with a mind that couldn’t think clearly and a body that hurt constantly.
A gifted mind that gave you your ability to play music like nobody else I ever met.
You could pick up any instrument and play it. When you sat at the piano our whole house became a concert hall filled with Bach and Shubert. I always felt like I lived in an opera as you often sang out to communicate instead of talking.
You carried six children in your delicate body. I don’t know how you did that. No wonder you were in pain. I don’t think you were built for childbearing.
Here’s a picture of the children you birthed
I know the one that didn’t make it was never very far from your thoughts.
Thank you for my birth
And thank you for bringing my siblings who I’m still playing and fighting with into this world. I can’t imagine life without them.
And thank you for giving me my gift of caring for others. You were the first I was granted the privilege of caring for. There were many years where I felt resentful for having to attend to you, worry about you, clean up after you, make sure your children were ok — but now I understand it gave me the ability to sit with anyone going through life’s challenges and be fully present. It is why I have anything to offer anyone as they sit before me in pain.
Dad this is a picture I took of you
You wanted it to send out for Christmas last year. You said it was of your favorite things, your dog, your tumble buggy, your gun and your home at the lake.
You are the best cook
I included another picture of you at the sink in the kitchen. Meals at our house were always amazingly delicious. I love visiting you because I know you are going to prepare my favorite meals and some new delicacies you’ve created.
I appreciate your garden so much. I love that you grow food to eat all summer and to can and freeze for the winter. Your huge garden is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer.
The tomatoes, the corn, the carrots, the green beans, the cabbage, the lettuce, the peas, the potatoes — all hanging off vines, growing on stalks, rooting down into the earth waiting to be picked. Waiting for that burst of powerful flavor.
You taught me about this beautiful earth as a gardner and an earth science teacher. I have so much love for the land, water, air and how it feeds and takes care of us because of you.
It took me growing up to really understand and appreciate the food you provided by hunting and fishing. I didn’t like seeing the animals dead but I know it was your way of feeding your family. You’d get up early in the mornings, before you had to be at school to teach, and go out in the woods or on the lake to catch our dinner.
I’ll never forget sitting with you in your boat on the lake sharing my sadness about how people treated the Earth. I thought inconsiderate money hungry people were killing our beautiful planet and you so wisely said to me, “They can’t kill the Earth. It will destroy us before they destroy her.” Those words gave me so much comfort.
I haven’t seen you in over a year now, Dad. I can’t wait to hug you — hopefully, this summer!
Mom and dad —
This is the last picture taken of our whole family together before you died, mom.
Thank you, my dear parents, for my life. Thank you for the gifts you gave and the lessons you have taught me.
I made it to 60-years-old because of you!
Because of you — I celebrate my life!
And everything in-between.
P.S. Celebrate your life with this week’s Ageless Celebrate YOU Movement Practice. Click here to join in!
P.S.S. Leave Michelle a 60th Birthday wish in the comments section below!