It’s been nearly two months since I last sat down to write–a very long hiatus for me. Simply put, life interrupted! Daily routines became passé. God’s plan and purpose redirected me from my to-do lists and preferences to His. In keeping with His timeline and focusing on His perspectives on my life in this season, I have been “taking care of business” by foremostly, honoring my mother and father. You will fully understand this if you read my last post where I announced the passing of my 90-year-old mother, Norma Florence Boling on Friday, March 16, 2018.
It had been unseasonably warm during the days that preceded her passing. Like our spirits, however, by March 21st, the day of her funeral and the second day of Spring, the weather went from warm and bright to cold and dark in nearly an instant. In fact, the temperatures dropped 20 degrees and a late nor’easter hit the East Coast that day, leaving more than 70 million people under weather warnings, watches or advisories. The good news is all family who was not stationed abroad attended, including family members from as far away as Georgia and Central Virginia. Former neighbors and childhood friends who no longer live locally even braved the weather and roads to give their condolences and to say their final goodbyes. Even mom’s longtime hairdresser traveled from Rehobeth Beach in the early morning hours to be with our family. Mom looked like a sleeping beauty and all segments of the funeral were perfect. Dad even raved over the funeral home’s great work to make her look so good after all she had been through in recent months. Unfortunately, the weather delayed her interment until the following day–which in many respects made this day easier for my dad.
If you have lost a loved one recently, you can easily relate to my mention of “taking care of business.” When death comes knocking, someone has to answer the door and immediately put aside their time for mourning, and instead, honor the one who has passed and support the surviving family to ready the plans. Being the eldest child and as my parents requested, this honor/task fell on me. But, I feel comforted because our family pulled closer together during this grieving time.
In the weeks that have followed, there hasn’t been a day pass where business appointments, family meetings, tasks, and phone calls have ceased. Dad remains frail and in mourning of his life-long companion of 75 years. In the first week and a half following mom’s passing, we rotated sleepovers at dad’s home. Since then, one or more of us has been with him daily, as we try to comfort him and help him make decisions about his future without mom at his side. And yes, even their dogs, that are like their children, have been grieving and Cody, the Pekingese, required a visit to the vets and a 10-day regimen of medicines, which in and of itself was just one more challenge to be met.
Meanwhile, we began a “Christmas in April” project list at the family home to hopefully help ease dad’s loneliness and to take care of some well-deserved maintenance while refreshing his environment and providing natural activities around him. Our first big project was to mend a carport wall that weakened over the 60 years it has been standing. We found it easy enough to set up jack stands to support the roof and to knock down the faltering wall and stack its bricks. In fact, this part of the task took only two hours. However, as we were using mortar hammers to remove the old concrete mortar from the 500+ bricks, we were reminded once again that we were not our own bosses and that mother nature would dominate over our schedule. We first pushed through the high winds and low temperatures, which created a sandstorm of loose mortar shavings that hit our faces and blew in all our exposed orifices. Next, the low temperatures remained and the rains came which forced us to cover the project area and abandon the site for a few days. We are praying that with next week comes warmer and brighter weather so we can complete task 1 of Christmas in April. Needless to say, our “planned” tasks will now extend beyond this month, so I guess we’ll have to rename our project “Christmas in the Spring,” and hope our projects list is completed before summer arrives on June 21–three months to the day following mom’s funeral. And maybe by then, mom’s grave marker will be ready and maybe then we can meet at her graveside for the first time, a family still strong and united who is doing what loving families do–caring for each other in their times of need. Thanks, mom, for instilling the value of importance of family in all of us.