CHRISLEWIS

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A week of tears, memories, and... daffodils

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There are times in life when you really learn a lot about yourself and, more often than not, it can be fairly surprising. In the course of ten days, I lost my grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's, had my heart broken by a girl who led me on for quite a while and to whom I would give the world, watched my dad keep things together like I had never seen him do, then watched him cry for the first time in my life, and saw the light at the end of the tunnel when the sun came out and coaxed my daffodils into blooming for the first time this spring.

I know my grandma is in a better place and we all knew it was coming sooner than later, but it hurt worse than I thought it would. She had been in a nursing home for the last six of her eighty-eight years and was near vegetative for the last two. We were calling it a blessing at first, but then the human side of things became obvious. Grandpa was without a wife for the first time in 64 years and my dad was without a mother for the first time in his 55 year-old life.

We had been worried about what would happen to my dad when the time finally came for the last few years because he has been responsible for taking care of his parents for about the last decade. My dad has never been one to handle stressful situations with much clarity. Where I thrive in dealing with a problem in the midst of mass chaos and break down after the fact, my dad creates even more chaos for himself because he isn't good at "rolling with the punches." This time around, my dad held things together better than any of us anticipated. Every decision was made with total clarity and it seemed as if he knew exactly what to expect before things happened.

When Saturday finally came and it was time to say goodbye for the final time, my mom and I walked with my dad to the casket. As we got close, I witnessed something that was a new experience for me... my dad cried. In 31 years, it was the first time I had ever seen tears streaming from his eyes. Granted, I've seen him get choked up. However, nothing prepared me for the sight of my dad crying uncontrollably.

I have never been as proud to be my father's son as I was at that moment.

Since Saturday, we have just been trying to regroup from all the energy that a death and funeral sucks out of people. To be honest, I've stayed in bed most of the week. But today I went outside because the sun was out. Little did I know, I'd receive a visit.

When I was about five years old, I was in the backyard at my grandparents' house and I asked grandpa about a certain group of yellow flowers which were standing alone and separate from the rest of the flowers in the yard. Grandpa gladly explained that they were daffodils and, before I could ask more, he got down on his hands and knees, dug up some of the bulbs, and handed them to me in a damp paper towel. He told me how and when to plant them, and then said that they would always be around because they come back every year in the spring. Needless to say, I planted them like he told me to and I have always looked forward to them blooming. When he died in 1994, mom and I took some of the original bulbs and planted them on his grave so that he would think of me every spring the way I think of him.

To me, a daffodil is the essence of rebirth, renewal, and hope. Today when I saw a handful of them in bloom for the first time, I knew that my hope had been reborn.

I also knew grandpa was saying hello as he always does this time of year... and that he was letting me know he is looking out for us as always.

My daffodils are in bloom...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CHRISLEWIS
    Thank you, ladies. It means a lot.
    4121 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5741646
    beautifully stated and heartfelt.. I think this is the best blog you have ever written. I believe that our departed loved ones come to let us know that they are ok and are watching out for us..........I know my mother and others have come to visit me in dreams... take comfort... for it is a gift.. the quote i love to share at this times is this... don't cry because its over, smile because it happened. take care chris and know this... you are loved
    4121 days ago
  • TYEASLEY
    emoticon
    4121 days ago
  • SURCH1
    Your blogs are always enlightening and amazing. Your words are so beautiful. Enjoy the visit and the memories!
    4134 days ago
  • CHRISLEWIS
    Thank you. emoticon
    4135 days ago
  • LADYINOHIO
    Wow, that's an amazing blog. I love daffodils too, and now I have yet another great reference to them... they're always usually the first thing popping up in the spring, and I love that sometimes you can just come across a random patch here and there, right in the city(or Mill Creek Park!) They make me smile.

    I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother, though I can totally relate and I unfortunately lost both of my grandmothers in 1999, way too young. I'm glad she lived a long full life, it sounds like, with an obviously caring family.
    emoticon

    Keep those happy memories flowing, my dear, and in time everything seems relevant and meaningful, and as it should have been. You've got a friend in me~
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4135 days ago
  • DREMARGRL
    Did you offer me a hankie with this blog? NOOoooooo! Seriously, sweetie, your emotional blog was very important to me with my own mother dying of stage IV cancer. I felt your pain and that of your loved ones. There are no words to express my condolences, but I will put daffodils up on my background in honor of your grandmother. Please accept this as my way of showing you love and support. Somehow I know what a wonderful son, grandson and man you are!
    Goodnight,
    MaryAnn
    PS Oh....and the girl? She really missed out! emoticon emoticon
    4141 days ago
  • DREMARGRL
    Did you offer me a hankie with this blog? NOOoooooo! Seriously, sweetie, your emotional blog was very important to me with my own mother dying of stage IV cancer. I felt your pain and that of your loved ones. There are no words to express my condolences, but I will put daffodils up on my background in honor of your grandmother. Please accept this as my way of showing you love and support. Somehow I know what a wonderful son, grandson and man you are!
    Goodnight,
    MaryAnn
    PS Oh....and the girl? She really missed out! emoticon emoticon
    4141 days ago
  • CHRISLEWIS
    Thanks for all the kind words. You guys are awesome. emoticon
    4141 days ago
  • CRANBYRRE
    Sending you and your dad peace. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    4143 days ago
  • EGRAMMY
    What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
    - - - - Richard Bach emoticon
    4143 days ago
  • NAKIOMA
    Your Parents and Grandparents would have been proud of the young man you are becomming......................
    4143 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6904820
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I recently lost 2 elder family members as well and I know how hard it can be. I love your thoughts on the daffodils though. Keep those memories in your heart always and your loved ones will never be far. emoticon
    4143 days ago
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