Has it ever happened to you? The extreme of abnormal? Have you ever suspected things were not quite right? My father died two days before I could get there to see him, he lives in New England and I live many states away. I was having to wait to get my stitches out from a hurnea surgery and I could not leave as soon as I would have liked. Just a week an a half before I was on the phone with my father and he said he had four to six months to live, that was my last conversation with him. The family commondeered his phone and would not let me talk to him.
Coming to Maine on a plane, I cried on the plane because this was my first time coming here that I would not see him. When I went to see my step mother, she was cold and harsh, would not let me give her a hug, said she did not want visits and that there would be no funeral. My father was a very much loved man in the community, and he was a father to all her kids, and many other children whom needed a father, he was there for all. No one was left to be hungry or in need if he knew about it. When she was on the phone I could hear them planning something, but, I was not invited. I came all this way, and there I was devastated. Unwelcome, alone with my grief.
Friends to the rescue, my God would not leave me alone with my tears. My friends Bob and Michelle took me into their home, Michelle and I went and enjoyed many local attractions. It was great seeing other friends we have known for decades. Dave and Christine own a house they built up on a mountaintop surrounded by mountains, they let me come stay a number of days, we had old fashioned maple ice cream, we enjoyed the ministry and family study I saw a storm come in across the mountains, and although it did not hit there, it was a sight to see. Many nights here and there I cried many tears of grief over the loss of my father and other tears of deep pain and sorrow delivered unnessessarily by an unatural family.
Another friend Jennifer came and took me away for an afternoon of fun at a fine country restraunt where I had one of my favorites, Haddock chowder. Very delicious, and I had a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, yes, all food in Maine is superior. Then Bob and Michelle surprised me by taking me to another friends home, I had not seen her for aboout 25 years but I had thought about her so many times over the years. Randall an Liz had some great pizza. Afterward Liz an Michelle humored me with a walk in Liz’s New England neighborhood. I would see Liz again a couple more times and it was great.
Taking a day, or a morning to just rest was very important, and I was not shy in doing so. Most on vacations strive to get the most out of their vacation and run here, go there, etc. This was not a vacation, my father died, and I was in an unusual situation for me, and still healing from surgery the rest was vital. Being handicapped, I have to take time to rest, putter, and move about slowly.
Off with Sandy an friends for the day, Sandy and Don have a very nice home in the country. Sandy an Susan keep the house so nice. My friends Roger and Debbie spent the morning an early afternoon with me, when I was about 21 they use to invite me over on Sundays and on fishing trips with their family. They were so kind and it was great spending time with them too. There were so many more I cannot mention all that extended themselves. Yesterday Michelle mentioned that this is not without great expense, not referring to money, I am referring to pounds and inches gained. I had quite a hearty laugh over that. Now we are doing a diet together.
My friends and I are working our 11/11 goal. What is that? I will tell you in the next post.
Last night I was in great physical pain and emotional pain due to all this loss, yet, I got up and focused on a spiritual program of a convention I missed in July due to my operation. It was great encouragement regarding healthy attitudes and actions that are beneficial regarding happy families and maintaining God’s favor. It was great just hanging out at the house, resting and doing little things.
I had decided to paint a couple pictures for my friends Bob and Michelle whom I am staying with, (two weeks and three days, minus a few days spent with Christine) They have been so generous and patient. In the AID book, a large biblical dictionary, the word Hospitality is defined as having two meanings, The first is about the obvious, extending hospitality to others whether we offered or it is someone in need. The second is regarding a person whom accepts hospitality. They have responsibilities too, such a not making it a hardship on the one extending the hospitality. To clean up after self, to be considerate, to help with chores, to offer financially to offset the overall expense, these are just a few examples. Learning this years ago from this wonderful book, I strive to be a good guest. One way I can show appreciation in addition to the other things I try to do is doing a painting. I finished one today and I hope it suits their needs and that they like it. I tried to keep their decor in mind, and I prayerfully addressed my care before starting the painting. After, I layed down again and unable to move I decided it was quite ok to stay down.
One short coming I have is being quite the chatterbox. Everyone needs quiet time, my friends offering generously do not need constant banter. It appears I am only figuring it out near the end of this trip.
The day before I left, Liz took me to the Demillo’s at the Portland waterfront. I love this restaurant. Haddock chowder, fresh hot bread and a vegtable plate. Then we rode a duck bus through town where we learned much history about the city of Portland, and architectural history. Then the duck bus took us out on the water. It was a lovely day to be out. I appreciated Liz that while she was so busy with getting ready for school to start, she took the time out to make a special day. She joined Michelle and I for dinner ( I had made the goulash in the crock pot in the morning before I left with Liz). Michelle helped me make the beer bread to go with it. Us old time friends had much to talk about. It was very pleasant.
I was devasted when I realized that my family is abnormal, I was suspicious of it for years. Here I became a long distance daughter and now the bridge has been burned unwittingly and not by me. When step children move in and the original children have been moved to the side, it is a sad situation not just when we are small but when injustice is delivered again later. We must keep our families together, children are the casualities as adults move from one relationship to another.
In a couple days I will return home to my husband, sons, and daughter. After a day of rest I will get back to the routine I strive to keep which is fortifying. I will be pondering precious memories in the months to come of special friends whom turned a painful situation around into a blessing.