Friday, July 5, 2013

Holiday Celebrations

My precious brother, Steve holding my equally precious niece, Kimberly. The supreme Slaughter in front is my nephew, Jason Slaughter. I've got to see if I can work my great-nephew, Cameron into this picture. Yesterday was difficult for me. Though I still have some family here and I find great joy in, and with them, so many memories assaulted my senses. We have always been such a close, loving family and our celebrations were filled with love and lots of good food. NOTHING tasted good yesterday. I miss my mother, daddy, Steve, my grandparents and aunts Lora and Mary who have gone on to be with God. I miss my uncles Jerry and Oscar who are with Daddy in Heaven probably still arguing over the potato salad and ice cream. I miss my brother Kevin and his wife Chris who live 10 hours away and my Aunt Betty DeFoor Reed in Georgia. Sometimes I wonder if happy memories that make us yearn for the past are good or bad. I know the answer - it is better to have loved and lost..... I wouldn't wash the memories away for anything. It just hurts. I have lots of cousins who are feeling these same pains. Some much fresher than mine. I love you all and hope that you can find comfort knowing we will all be united in Heaven with God one day. My blessings are many. I have a wonderful husband at my side and two sweet daughters I love as my own. They will never fully realize how much I love them and how empty my heart would be without them. Krista and Candace also gave me the joy that is being a grandmother to three wonderful grandsons. I don't have to tell any of you what that means to me. They are gifts straight from our God. Bill also shares his mother with me and she is priceless. She treats me as a daughter and calls me her "daughter-in-love." There is nothing I can not ask of her or say to her. I also have my brothers friends who grew up with us and are my brothers along with their families. They look after me as my brothers would if they could be here. They share their children and grandchildren with me. Most of the time I can concentrate on the ones here and not let my grief take away the blessings I have. Yesterday just wasn't one of those days. I have two foster puppies here from a raid on a horrible "shelter" last Friday night. They are so sweet and good, but just too big and untrained to be in the house. Last night they were afraid when the fireworks started so I went outside to sit on the deck with them. One at a time I rocked them and sang to them. I thought, "Huh. I'm doing pretty good. I can sing to them and not cry." They seemed to like it and all was well. (I haven't had any complaints from the neighbors, so maybe the fireworks covered my singing.) Even singing Daddy's favorite, "Fill My Cup Lord", wasn't making me cry. Then a vision of our home flashed into my mind. It was full of family and friends cooking and eating and telling jokes and I was down for the count. Tears flowing and no more words could get out of my throat. The puppies looked at me with great knowing and just snuggled in closer. Sometimes I think God puts a special part of Himself into dogs so that they recognize our pain and try to heal it. Eventually the three of us calmed each other down, I came in and they curled up and went to sleep. They are on the deck playing without a care in the world. I didn't mean for this to turn into an essay, but that happens a lot when I sit down to write. The words just fly from my brain to my fingers until they are spent. I started out meaning to share the picture and it grew from there. Several people yesterday were moaning about being apart from family and friends on yet another holiday. This is part of life. Bill and I spent the day alone and that was fine. Families grow and join to other families and things get busy. I have spent many holidays away from family and I survive still. What hurts is knowing there are so many we will not see again until God calls us home. I will have lots of fun times with the ones still here. It may not be every holiday or as often as we would like, but I know they are alive and well and I can get to them if I have to. The rest is up to God. We must live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and make the most of our time here. Enjoy what you have and "Don't worry. Be happy!"

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