A letter in blog format to my older Sister, Samantha.
As we are now at the year anniversary of Dads passing, I continue to remind myself of the wonderful times we spent together as a family. I want to look back on the last 6 years, to be exact. To me, that feels like the pivotal time in our life where we crested the hill towards “The Great Valley”. Name that movie 😊 I have titled this “Cherished Memories” after the bouquet of flowers that I hope made it to your table somewhere in the middle of Missouri.
Cherished Memories are the good and enjoyable times we have had with Dad, (and Mom!) where we laughed, cried, and talked about life. Although we condensed many memories in from July of 20 to September of 21, there were many occasions before that I can remember where we rebuilt our relationships from a humble and heartfelt perspective. The times we spent together surrounding my wedding, are ones I am fond of and thankful for. It almost feels prophetic to me, when I look back on time and see how that all unfolded. My short engagement made possible by the ability to get married at ‘Dads Farm’. I truly believe that God gives us seasons and places in life for our faith to grow deep. I believe Dads’ farm was that place for him to heal his heart, and help us create “Cherished Memories”.
I love and remember the supper we all shared together in Dads shop, before he officially moved out of 243 S. Reamstown Road. We ate grassfed beef inside the first bay on the picnic table, from a cow Scott and I got…. it was gross! It tasted like venison – gamey & yuck! LOL sorry.
I am especially thankful for our Florida Trip. It is my best and favorite week of memories!! I love that there was no schedule or timeframe. It really helped us all to be present without being worried about any fine details or coming and going. Thank you for having us that week.
I am not sure how you managed all the trips you did in 2020 and 2021! It was so many! I am very appreciative of every trip you made up during Dads’ 443 days. At the time, it did not feel like “enough”. Your time here was helpful and we loved to have you around!! The days would go so fast and you would have to go home . . . Already!? I even remember talking to Dad about it last year! He felt that each trip was really good!! It was quality time spent when we could go out for suppers, to talk about life, current and future. We missed you each time you left, of course! Just know that we have all come to really understand that you have your OWN life, and that life is separate, in a way, from life here. We knew you were giving your best each and every trip to PA. Knoebels. Campfires. Suppers out and Suppers in. Naughty Elliott children, too many dogs and doctors appts. Selling the farm. Doing paperwork. Boehringers cheeseburgers and Milkshakes. ‘Cherished Memories”.
I could go back farther and recount everything that was fun from our childhood, but to me, that is a different lifetime. The Dad we know and loved that died after he raised his fist to the sky, was not the same Dad we knew growing up. I know that forgetting bad memories is hard at times, but it has been a step in my healing journey to not recount the negativity. I have been in a place for a long time now, of just remembering the good. I have chosen for my health, to focus on the Cherished Memories that we can tell our children in years to come.
As I am still and quiet, I remember the good, fun and silly. I can see and feel it. I continue to feel heavy. I am still struck, mid-day by a song or particular driving pattern where my grief hits the deepest parts of me. I allow myself to have the tears. I learned to sit with feeling the disappointment and sadness that comes with, what feels like, an unfair hand of cards. Some days, I feel robbed. My joy is missing - I am overwhelmed with tasks that feel out of my reach; things that Dad would’ve probably taken care of for the business or the house. Each day, we have to go get a shower, take a deep breath and keep going. I pray that you rip off the rearview mirror of regret and shame, and tell yourself the stories of all the ‘Cherished Memories’ we can hold dear.
I love you.