Friday, February 24, 2012

A Very Important Wednesday Night And A Slideshow Of My Dad's 99th Birthday Party

Last night I was looking at pictures, videos and slideshows I have stored on my laptop. I found this slideshow I made of my dad's 99th birthday party in September, 2011. I thought I had posted it on my blog, but it doesn't seem to be the case.

I wondered if I should watch it.

Was I doing ok enough to watch it.

I decided I was.

About two weeks ago.....it was a Wednesday night...I was alone for the night...Tom was at choir practice...and I had watched the video of the ballet (my previous post) a number of times....

That video touched me so deeply...it found and opened the closet door of so many feelings over the last two years...feelings I simply haven't had time to feel...life has been too busy and too full....I handled it all...some might even think I was amazingly functional...

And, I was....I did everything that I needed to....things came one on top of the other...each and every one was anything but emotionally neutral...no...there was nothing emotionally neutral about the last two years....

On that Wednesday night...the night I was alone...alone in my house...sitting in my chair in the basement...out it came....

I didn't plan it...I didn't know it was going to happen....

I started to scream...I screamed loud and long...I screamed from a place in me that I didn't know existed....it came from the depths of me...there were no words....there were no thoughts....only screams...and then it stopped....I cried some tears....and then it was over...

I have felt different ever since....

I watched two other videos online that affected me too. One was the video of Ben Breedlove made prior to his death. If you haven't seen it, you can type Ben Breedlove into google and it will come up. I also watched a video of Ben's sister giving a eulogy at Ben's funeral. She talked about a conversation she had with Ben the night before he died.

In essence, what she learned from Ben, who had courted death a number of times in his young life, and even visited heaven...died and came back..was that heaven was beyond description, filled with peace and calm, and a place he didn't want to leave. He said to his sister, something to this effect..."Heaven is God's gift to us and our being alive and living life is our gift to God."

I thought about that. And, I knew that my mom, dad and Briana...all who have died in the last two years were in a wonderful place. I knew they were safe, whole and happy.

I thought about Sarah getting cancer. She is two years cancer free now. I thought about everything in life that has been given to me. I thought about that I am alive. I thought about how I live my life...and I mean LIVE my life...not just be alive.....and how that is my gift to God.

I kept saying over and over to myself..."I am alive...I am alive...I am alive..."

I am alive and how "I be alive" is how I give my gift to God.

Life has been different ever since the night I screamed. It just is. It doesn't change.

It feels like I have been in a dark tunnel for two years and on that Wednesday night screamed the door of the tunnel off, walked out and closed the door behind me. It is the only way I can come close to describing what I experienced.

It is possible for me to look at pictures of my dad now. I haven't been able to since his death. Some bring a tear, some bring a smile, and I often reach up to my laptop screen and touch his face with tightness in my throat. I GET to hear Sarah's voice. I GET to hug her. I GET to go to lunch with her, and I GET to listen to her plans for the life she GETS to have...

And, I GET to thank God for this new life that I GET to have. That new life comes with a sense of gratitude... a sense of freedom and a newly understood sense of responsibility. Yes, responsibility...responsibility to be thankful on a daily basis and live MY life to the fullest and give it as a gift.

I guess that was a lot to write about.

And, now there is the slideshow of my dad's 99th birthday party. His younger brother, Ernie, (95) was there and we did a joint celebration for the two of them. The cast of players at this party was his brother, daughters and their families, cousins, nieces, nephews, the social worker who has known my dad for years and gotten him involved in some senior activities etc., and two of his neighbors...lots and lots of family and people who loved him. In one group picture Sarah is holding up her phone to represent our son, Adam, so he and his family (they live in SC) could be part of the party too.

Some of the pictures with lots of people in seem to be the same picture, but they aren't. In each similar picture you can see different people laughing because of what was being said or faces that were being made. I have to tell you too...the last song, Tennessee Waltz, was my mom's favorite song. I can watch it and feel warm and glad the family got to do that. Family was his world. I love you dad. Thanks for the life you gave me. Love, Judy

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