#SOL17: Memories

13 years ago this weekend . . . 

“Are you driving?” Sherry asked.

What an odd question?

“No, I just pulled into Hy-Vee to get some groceries.  What’s up?”

And I knew.

“Please, don’t tell me!” 

I just wanted to hang up the phone.  

I didn’t want to hear it.  


And the tears streamed down my face as I learned that Dad had passed.


Without undue suffering


Suddenly and Unexpectedly!

To this day, I remember where I was parked at North Hy-Vee that afternoon.

It’s a section I have never parked in since.  

Not tempting fate.

The sun was shining.

It was a relatively nice day.

Done with work.

Planning to buy a few groceries before heading home.

Immediately shifting gears . . .

A dying phone battery.

Phone calls to make.

Returning to work.

Using a land line and a cell phone.


Leaving messages.


Asking questions.


Asking, “Are you driving?” when using cell numbers.


Barely able to say the words.

Numb. Shocked. Confirmed.  

Yet short on details!

Making lists of more phone calls.

Already exhausted.

Where do I need to be?  When?  What’s next?

I’m in limbo.

Half-way between my family farm home and my family home.

Is someone with Mom?

Which direction to go?

Plans to make.  Plans A, B, and C.

Not ready?

No longer an option

A hurricane is headed for Southern Florida

So Sherry is not yet on her way.

I want to return to the childhood days,

My treasured days,

As the best gift to my dad on Father’s Day!

The easy days of childhood.

Fast Forward to the present . . .

2017:  What a year!  And it’s not over . . .

If I could turn back the hands of time?

I would definitely rewrite March and April. Those days when I wanted to huddle under the quilt and cry for all the changes in our family.  Too many losses, way too fast!

I often come back to this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Screenshot 2017-09-04 at 7.43.30 AM.png

Moving forward may seem to be at a turtle’s pace but forward motion is ALL that is required.  Some days it’s not necessary to measure the miniscule change.

Does it ever get easier?

Saturday I stopped by the family cemetary (after a neighbor’s funeral – age 91).  A few minutes of conversation with Joey, Grandma, brother Joe and Dad . . . and aunts, and uncles and so many more!

Was it missing the opportunity to say an Earthly “Good-bye”? 

Was it not knowing how or what to say?

Was it the shock of the “suddenness”? 

Taking comfort in our memories,

And remembering the JOY, the LOVE, and the many celebrations.

Never taking a single moment for granted.

Precious life!  Precious time!  Precious family!

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

24 responses

  1. Wow, Fran! You have had so much to cope with in the last year. Your post is powerful–so raw with the fragments and the back and forth structure. I’m glad you’re part of this community–so glad.

    1. Melanie,
      Life happens. Some days it’s hard to find the “beauty” and moving forward when mired in quicksand seems impossible, but this community makes it easier to survive!

  2. Wishing you a day of comforting memories. Thank you for sharing this one with us. My Dad left us almost ten years ago. I can say that I still miss him greatly, but that there is more memory than sadness as the years have gone by.

    1. Aileen,
      So many great memories as you said!

  3. Tears Fran. Beautiful post for all of us. Love to you and your family.

  4. Some years are really tough –moving forward – or onward as I often say – is the only option. As we move forward we bring them with us in our memories, traditions, stories and in how we live our life. Sending hugs your way.

    1. So true, Clare. And yes, we do “bring them with us in our memories, traditions, stories, and in how we live our life”! ❤

  5. That is a beautiful quote from MLK Jr. that I need to remember. Forward is forward, no matter how small the steps are. Wishing you much joy, love, and celebration in the days ahead to balance out the past few months, Fran.

    1. I believe that quote is necessary to hold onto current reality in the US. Such a strange time. Thanks, Jennifer!

  6. Fran, you have had to deal with so much loss. This piece captures the somewhat frenetic feeling that sudden grief can cause. As you may remember, I lost my beautiful mother in April and am still dealing. Thank you, as always, for your contributions to this community.

    1. Lanny,
      May the strength of your memories override the sadness that sneaks up on you at odd times! The “firsts” without loved ones are painful yet joyous when we can celebrate the lives that were lived. The simultaneity of “glass half-full and glass half-empty” . . . life!

  7. What a strong post. I can feel your pain and longing. Thank you for trusting this community with this.❤️

    1. Erin,
      This community is such a safe place!!! Some days the pain just has to work its way through!

  8. I’m thinking about you Fran. If I remember right, you lost your nephew too young and so suddenly this year… and I can only imagine how hard it has been to process that. I love the quote you shared. You are so valued in this community.

    1. Yes, my nephew and his wife in Feb. and my brother in April. What a blur for the end of the year.

  9. Fran, I echo what so many others have said, you have had one trying year. I really think some kind of autopilot instinct kicks in at times like these to help us get through what needs to be done. Life is precious and every moment is one to be cherished.

    1. Thanks! I like that autopilot idea. That’s probably the day to day life after Harvey as well. So many issues for so many to deal with!

  10. Fran, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can feel your pain and raw emotion. I enjoyed the back and forth style of your writing and it reminded me so much of my own inner thoughts when I found out I lost my grandfather years ago. The MLK quote is a beautiful one.

    1. Loss – and how to deal with it. . . Some of our kiddos have encountered a bucket load themselves! The MLK quote fits so many situations! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  11. Hi Fran!
    I admire your courage in being so open and honest and raw in sharing your emotions with us. I’m sorry you’ve had such losses, and I know that this year in particular has been so painful. I hope you can find at least some small bit of comfort with each new day “moving forward.”

    1. Allison,
      Brave is my #OLW so it’s necessary to tackle hard issues and right now “loss” rises to the top. So much comfort in “moving forward” . . . staying in “positive numbers”!

  12. What a lot of memories poured into your post. I especially liked your last section:
    Taking comfort in our memories,

    And remembering the JOY, the LOVE, and the many celebrations.

    Never taking a single moment for granted.

    Precious life! Precious time! Precious family!

    It is all so precious, as you say, and sometimes we need that reminder. Sending you hugs!

    1. Thanks, Erika! Life is a treasure. Some days it just needs a bit more polishing but every day is PRECIOUS!

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