Posted in Loss of a parent

Whole again

Creative Alliance '12

Photo courtesy of Suebob Davis

I’ve written about my father here before.

I’ve shared my grief and my efforts to work through my sadness.

And I worried that you might be growing weary of hearing about it.

So, I stopped writing about him.

I stopped sharing the waves of my sadness and I bottled it up inside, where it became trapped, until two weeks ago, when I stood in front of my peers at Creative Alliance ’12 and read the first substantial piece that I ever wrote about my father.

And I felt freed of a piece of my sadness.

Standing there, giving voice to my grief was cathartic.

Not long ago, I read a quote from On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss that gave me permission to grieve both privately and publicly.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.

It was that quote that pushed me to submit my piece the the Listen to Your Mother “Say It” Salon at Creative Alliance ’12.

It helped me to recognize that it’s okay to feel what I’m feeling.

Thank you, Ann Imig, Leane Vandeman and Andrea Fellman for providing a warm and supportive environment for my words.

Thank you to all of the amazing women who sat and listened and smiled and cried with me.

And if I become fearful or trapped or lonely, I will sit quietly and watch this video from Suebob Davis that captures the magic of Creative Alliance ’12.

And I will be grateful.


Friendship and understanding

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. –C. S. Lewis

Most friendships begin with all of those lovely things that we have in common with another person and grow over time.

But, some friendships are rooted in shared sorrows and an intimate understanding of loss.

My friendship with Tonya began as the latter. The loss of a parent–in Tonya’s case, both parents–brought us together.

And over time, our relationship has evolved into so much more than that.

We laugh, encourage one another, and celebrate life together.

But there’s an underlying knowledge that she understands me.

When I experience great joy, she knows that there’s a part of me mourns my father.

When I’m struggling, she knows just what to say that both acknowledges what I’m saying but also what I’m not.

I am guest posting for Tonya today over on Letters for Lucas, where I’ve shared a letter to my mother, a woman who I don’t thank nearly often enough.

It would mean the world to me if you came by to say hello.

Thank you for your friendship, Tonya. I count you amongst my greatest blessings.


Because They’re All I Have…

When I gather them together in one neat stack, I probably have 30 or so pictures of my father.

And when I comb my mind for memories of him, I have zero.

My father has been gone for as long as I can remember.

I was just two years old when he died…such a cruel age to lose a parent.

I would give anything for just one memory…just one wisp of a shared moment.

This stack of photos is all that I have of him.

I don’t know what the skin on his face felt like, but in the photos, it looks so soft.

I don’t know what his hair felt like, but the photos show that it was wavy and smooth.

I never had the chance to hear from him the stories of his youth, but the photos shed some light onto the young man that he was.

I’ve always worried about something happening to my collection of photos…always worried that if they were gone, I would have nothing left of my dad.

So, I’m sending my precious pile of photos to LiveOn Rewind, where they will be professionally preserved.

LiveOn will send me a preservation kit that will include a box custom-designed to fit my photos, a prepaid mailing envelope, a waterproof plastic bag, and secure packaging. Once I’ve mailed it off to them, they will convert my photos and return them to me within 3-4 weeks. The best part is that I’ll be able to see photos in the meantime, as they’ll share them with me as they process them.

Although my father lives in my heart, my photos are my only real connection to him and I’ll feel so much better once I know they’re safe.

Do you have any old pictures that you’d love to keep safe? Here’s a LiveOn discount code for you to use: HOLIDAYREWIND

Thank you to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please LiveOn to learn more about sharing and preserving your most important memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. Although story ideas were provided, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Always Her Baby

While we were camping, Craig and I spent much of our evenings talking of his mom.

A year ago today he sat by her side.

He smoothed her hair from her face and reassured her.

He told her that he would be okay.

That she could let go.

He promised her that he would never forget.

As his tears slid over his cheeks, he thanked her for all that she had done for him.

He assured her that he would keep her memory alive in his children…that they would know her.

He rested his head on her arm and cried.

In those moments he was just a boy…her baby boy.

Watching his mother die.

A year ago now, but his face, lit by the warm glow of the campfire, still hinted of that little boy who misses his mother.

And my heart breaks for him…an amazing man, but always her baby boy.

You can read of our tremendous loss in So Much to Say and So That You May Know Her.

Tied to Him

This week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster is the lovely Stasha from Ponderings of a Middle-Aged Mom.

Stasha and I have in common one of the worst things that two people possibly can. We each lost our dad when we were small girls.

I have liked Stasha from the first moment I met her. She is kind and genuine, funny and compassionate. For every light-hearted story she has to share, she has another story that makes you stop what you’re doing and truly think.

Thank you, Stasha, for sharing your father with us.  Thank you for being you.

Your writing…your story…just lovely.

Tied to Him–by Stasha

I pull one of his ties from the closet.

I wrap it around my neck. I feel connected to him.

I run my fingers along the blue diagonal pattern of his tie, caress the memories of a man.

Memories of a man I love.

I brush the cool silkiness of the fabric against my cheek.

Looking in the mirror, I see some of him in me. See how we are different yet the same.

Two people cut from the same cloth.

So many memories of a time not long enough.

He always wore a white button down shirt, a tie and dress slacks.

He was not a ‘business man’ but was part owner of a business.

He was proud that he owned a business and liked to dress the part.

He was half owner of a butcher shop.

His was not an easy job. Working with the public never is.

He worked hard to make a decent living to support his wife and children.

He came home in the evenings, tie undone and hanging around his neck and the top two buttons of his shirt unbuttoned.

Loosening his tie was his way to let the work day go so he could enjoy time with his family.

He always walked in with a smile on his face no matter what kind of day he had. Always happy to see his family.

He was always glad to be home.

Looking in the mirror, I see some of him in me.

I hold the tie in my hands.

I think of the immense love he had for us.

I think of how he laughed and cried and lived while wearing this tie.

I think of the day on which this tie was severed.

I look at myself in the mirror with his tie draped around my neck. Such a small piece of clothing that links me to this man.

Links the man he was to the woman that I have become.

I work to support my family. A hard, thankless job.

I, like him, look forward to the end of day when everything winds down and time can be spent with my family.

I learned so much from him. Even though my memories are faded and few.

I caress his tie as I re-hang it in the closet.

Dad died when I was nine.

I miss him.

Such a gorgeous post. Just one of many.

Please visit Stasha on her blog and read  some of her other amazing posts: Forgotten, Shadows from the Past, and No Contact.

Also, please go follow Stasha on Twitter and catch up with her on Facebook.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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