Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bittersweet

It was a strange, but good day. My dad went with me to visit my sister's grave. I don't think he has set foot in the St. Gabriel Cemetery for 40+ years. He had forgotten the grave's location, so I pointed him towards the headstone with the praying angel, flanked by pink roses. Then I walked away to give him some space. I turned and watched as he knelt down beside her, and for several seconds contemplated a quick snap with my iphone. However, it felt like an unwelcome intrusion on such a private moment, so I resisted the urge and continued on. After some time, he stood up and strode towards me, dabbing at his eyes with his handkerchief. We hugged. We stood like that for quite some time with me giving some extra squeezes for the words I wanted to say, but couldn't. It's the first time I've seen my dad cry. Even when his parents died so tragically, I don't remember him crying; he just sighed a lot. But I think he needed this today and perhaps will get some badly needed closure.

Late in the afternoon when all the emotions had died down and daddy had long since returned home, my dogs began a chorus of barks. My husband called out that the UPS man had left me a package. To my delight, it was a box from a very special blogging friend, Michelle Renee Photography! Inside she had...well...I'll let you see what she did!
What a sweetheart! A brand new hummingbird feeder and a National Geographic magazine!
I was so deeply touched by Michelle's generosity and her confidence in my photography.
Hugs, Michelle!!!!!!
Just a few minutes after I set it up, here comes Pierre, Sr.! I was focused on the feeder, not expecting a visitor so soon, but there he is, impatient to give the new feeding station a test drive.
Michelle, it has his seal of approval. He will not even let the rest of his family feed.
A very happy hummer.
Nom-nom-nom
This is him at the old feeder. I included this one because of his tongue.
He didn't stay long, he went right back to the new feeder.
(I think he realized how grody the old feeder is!)
And here sat Izzy listening to the buzz of the hummers' wings.
She so rarely sits still, so I had to take advantage of this moment.
And bonus: both her ears are in the frame!
The blogging community is filled with special people that I've grown close to and care deeply about. There are those that make me laugh, share their talents, respond to questions, pray, and offer support. I become verklempt when I try to put into words what this world of writing, friendship, and community means to me. If you had told me a few years ago that I would be giving out my address to someone over the internet and form actual friendships with other bloggers, I'd have replied that you need to go back to eating your soup with a fork. :) But I've let go and trusted, and in return received the sweetest gifts. And I'm not talking just about "things". The gift of time that people share is what stirs my heart and fills me with hope. Can I get an Amen?!

43 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i just read the story of your sister's death and the pain/guilt you struggled with, thereafter. i am proud of you for returning to her gravesite with your father. i cannot imagine your parents' pain/guilt they internalized, too, perhaps at your expense.

i am so glad michelle renee sent you that gift to brighten your day and your yard! how very sweet! and she's right about the nat geo cover. :) and you're right about blogland.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

You gotta' an AMEN from me!

What a treasure your friend is, such an uplifting and long lasting gift that will bring JOY to many.

My prayers for you and your father.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Gail, I'm happy you shared that moment with your father. It must have been very difficult for you, growing up -- the pictures of the hummer are stunning! You must have very steady hands.

rainfield61 said...

Life is filled with Up and low.

And I love to see this beautiful hummer.

Tricia said...

The story of your sister's death is so sad, Gail. I think of her life, lost at such a young age, and the pain that you and your family suffered as a result. Oh, it's so heartbreaking. I'm glad though that you were able to visit your sister's grave with your dad. Now that the pain isn't so raw, maybe it provides a little bit of closure or something.

You're right about the blogging community being filled with wonderful people...I feel the exact same way. xo

bailey-road.com said...

It's good that you and your father went, together, to the cemetery. It's never to late to heal old wounds.
What a wonderful surprise you received! I'm sure Pierre loves his new feeder and will guard it aggressively.
Cute little Izzy!

Linda said...

I wasn't sure where to look for the story of your sister's death; and I'm traveling right now and encountering some very slow internet service. But I do want to read that when I can. Meanwhile, I can tell that it's a trauma that has affected you and your whole family deeply. I hope the visit to her grave has been a step toward healing.

And bless the sweet blogger who sent you the gift. It's something we'll all enjoy through your photography. Pierre is beautiful and looks very happy with "his" new gift.

Starla said...

Isn't it wonderful how on a "hard" day, something from someone unexpected can brighten your day?!

I agree about the blogging friends I have made, amazing how "cyber" friends can care so much!

Kerry said...

I just read your account of the accident that took your sister's life and then caused repercussions ever after. This has given your life a unique shape, and I'm honored that you share it. Your sister would be proud.

You have become a hummingbird expert! I can't believe you captured a hummingbird's tongue. Izzy's tongue, yeah, but a hummingbird? Wow.

Brian King said...

That's a great looking feeder and Pierre seems to be very happy with it!

It's nice that your dad visited the grave site. Probably good for him, too.

Your dog made me laugh! That's hilarious!

Evelyn S. said...

I'm relatively new to your blog, so didn't know the story of your family...I'm sorry that you've carried that guilt all these years. Reading about your trip to the cemetery with your father was heart-rending. (Your hummer photos are simply amazing....)

manolo said...

Me ha gustado mucho tu relato, que llega al corazón.

Y las fotos son preciosas.

Saludos, de Manolo (SEVILLA .- España)
marinosinbarco.blogspot.com

the wild magnolia said...

You can get an amen from this corner of the world.

Touching post about your Dad. Truly wonderful to step toward closure.

Love the hummingbird photos. I am having issues with close up's and my new camera. Working on it and having a blast.

Take care of you.

Ditto on the blog friends. I love 'um.


Dave said...

Yes, a touching post about your Dad at your sister's grave. That bird feeder sure won instant popularity. I wish we had such lovely birds... - Dave

Kathy said...

You and Michelle both have wonderful hummingbird pictures. How sweet!

Phil said...

Very nicely written Gail with such contrast of emotions to first make us sad, then wonder about your present, admire your hummer shots, and then to finally laugh at "Big Ears".

Danielle said...

A huge AMEN! We have been blogging for about the same amount of time and I have been very blessed with the relationships I have developed and kept along the way....I have even been fortunate to have met many of my blogging friends from when I first hit the blogging community.

You are a very eloquent writer and both posts (about your sister) and this one are very impacting. I don't believe we ever find 'closure' from losing loved ones, I am not even sure if being able to handle the pain ever gets easier...however, God blesses us with our gifts that we are to use to bless others...as you have blessed your Dad and as your friend has blessed you....and as Pierre Sr. has blessed us ;) A big hug!!!

Justine said...

oh my goodness I just read your story about the death of your sister, it made me want to cry, you have been through so much! I'm glad that things are semi ok now and maybe you are somewhat at peace if that is possible. What a lovely gift from a friend, isn't the internet an amazing thing?

Michelle said...

Lol about Izzy, eating soup with a fork, and nom nom nom. You have such a way with words. :) I'm smiling over your first photo and this post...so glad Pierre found it already and approves! I echo what you said about the connections made through blogland. I feel the same way...I've met so many amazing people here, some I feel like I know better than friends in real life.

I'm glad you were with your dad at your sister's grave. My heart broke when I read what happened...you were so young to go through that kind of loss. Not that being older would have made it hurt less. (((Big hug))) I think she smiles down at you everytime you put up your tree.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

There is indeed a very special Karma amongst the blogging community, even stronger I believe than the relationships I built with pen friends as a youngster.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh Gail -- Thank you for including the link back (as a newer blog friend). Makes me cry even though it was so long ago but I'm glad you shared your story and your strength in recovering from this! It takes a lot to realize that none of this was your fault -- and that your parents no doubt did the best they could to deal with this horrible event.

How lovely that such a nice gift arrived from your blogger friend. You are right about bloggers!

Deanna said...

I am pretty much speechless after reading your story...I just want to reach out and give you a big hug and reassure you that you lived because God had plans for you. Michelle is a great blogging friend...I also was a recipient of one of her generous gifts. And AMEN to all your thoughts on blogging and creating friendships that we never expected. Big big big hugs!!!

hootnonny said...

Amen, Gail! Nice pics of the hummers, but the last pic made me laugh. So adorable and unexpected after all the hummer pics.

Was a sweet moment w/your dad. I'm drawn to angels in the cemetery (though up here I seldom see any.) Hope you'll consider sharing this special angel.

Tricia Hays said...

If someone had told me that one paragraph would set me to tears, I'd have had the same response as you, to continue eating your soup w/ a fork... but, you did & I stand by what I've said several times before... you should write, whether it be children's books or whatever... you have a way w/ words & you have a way of saying what you want & when that particular thing needs said... you articulate the event very, very well. Think about it... I'm just saying! =)

She Who Carries Camera said...

What a special friend you have made in cyberspace! Yes, blogging has resulted in several unexpected fringe benefits, one of which, and probably the most special, is friendships.

Lynn said...

Amen . . . thrice as the song goes!

Gregory Urbano said...

i stumbled across your blog and found a touching story and some beautifully detailed bird photos!

Hilary said...

Gail. I just read your post about your sister and I'm so very sorry fore your loss. The loss of your sister, of your Dad's presence, of your Mom's attentiveness.. of your childhood in many ways. I'm glad that you and your Dad were able to have this moment together at your sister's grave. Huge hugs to you.

Lovely gift from your blogging buddy. It was kind of a gift to all of us because we can enjoy more of your hummer photos.

Izzy's goofy expression made me laugh. What a cutie!

Nancy Claeys said...

How nice to receive such a thoughtful gift in the mail from Michelle -- she's such a nice lady and gifted photographer.

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately, but trying to catch up this morning. Hope you are well, Gail. xo

Rosemary Aubut said...

What a beautiful post Gail! You always express the emotions behind every photo and story! How lucky that you are receiving so many gifts and much more than material gifts at that! Love the new feeder!

beth said...

what a truly special gift in so many ways......xo

Linda R said...

Great big hugs to you my friend. You had me all teary eyed this morning.
And I totally agree, You got an amen from me about the blog friends, they are the best. Both you ladies are the sweetest.

Such great photos my friend.

Hugs~

ladyfi said...

Superb hummer shots.

And yes - AMEN!

Bookish Times said...

Beautiful Shots - Hugs *new follower*

Mary said...

Amen...sweet blog friends come along with heart felt interest...kindness seem to abound. I love your gift. Your thought about dad and sister are so sweet...when we are left behind by the departed...they are just fine. We must adjust with the difficulties. Time may have helped. M

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

What a very special friend that gave you the lovely humming bird feeder!
Tears and prayers for your Dad! It HAS to be difficult to stand at your child's grave - what ever the age! That's not suppose to be!
God Bless Gail!

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Amen and amen. Beautiful bird feeder and love your hummer shots. So sad to read about your sister....I had no idea. Trust you and your dad will both continue to heal and grow closer together.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - this is a great post - I think it shows what blogging can be about - allowing people to tell their own stories and in doing so, come to understand them better!

Cheers - Stewart M

PS: great images of the hummers!

Butterbean Row said...

Gail, I must have missed the post about your sister's untimely death. I am so sorry for your pain!
Must go to confession as I covet your ability to photograph birds so well. LOL

You are a very special blogging friend, Gail.

charlotte

Barbara said...

I'll certainly give you an Amen! Sometimes I tell myself I should let blogging go and use that time for earning money somehow, but as you said, this world of writing, friendship, and community is too important and brings too much joy to my life. I'm so happy for you for that new feeder and I share her confidence in your photos. You should definitely submit those! Pierre is such a beauty! Issy, too! I'm also glad you had that time with your dad - I'm sure it was a moment of healing for both of you. Sending prayers and hugs!

Lisa Gordon said...

You got my AMEN, Gail.
Although very sad, you were so fortunate to have this very special moment with your Dad. I am sure you will treasure it always.
xo.

septembermom said...

What a beautiful gift! I'm giving you an AMEN too!!

Blogging can be such an amazing connection with the humanity in all of us. It fuels the soul in many ways.

The Izzy picture is making me giggle.

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

So touching, Gail ...