Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014, Mom's 80th Birthday

Eighty years ago today, on August 13, 1934, Mom was born in Milan, Quebec. Very few people in the world can make this claim because the population of Milan has always been sparse.

Today Mom reached her 80th birthday, but sadly, she is not even aware of this special milestone in her life. For the past fifteen years, perhaps a bit longer, she has struggled with Alzheimer's disease as it has slowly, agonizingly and relentlessly robbed her of everything in life, except her life thus far.

"Go eat your your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do."
(Ecclesiastes 9:7)

... and this is the way Mom has lived for as long as she has been able.

Photo of Mom thirty years earlier celebrating her 50th birthday doing what she loved to do during the hot summers, sitting in the back yard and having a picnic dinner.

"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them.
(Ecclesiastes 12:1)

While celebrating another birthday, Mom is with Aunt Shirley, her only sibling, who was visiting from Vancouver.

Mom was fascinated with the "Little Girl" but was unable to understand this was her first great-grandchild.

Mom in the early 1950's. We rarely ever thought of Mom as once being young and a teenager.

Mom and Dad at Serampus Falls in Maine, making a pause while en route to Rangeley. At this time Mom was already early into her struggle with that hated disease. Mom always loved visiting this spot in Maine.

In spite of the afflictions that come upon us, life is a single, one-way journey; a precious gift of time that God alone grants us. 

"There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him."
(Revelation 22:3)

Mom always reminded us to always enjoy the moment because this is all that we have. 

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum August 14, 2014

80 years old! I wish we could know what she is thinking, but she cannot tell us. (Photo by Alan)

Addendum August 26, 2014

If only life was this simple and the following possible...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No Fool Like An Old Fool

"Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
(Galatians 6:7)

This item is something that I found during the past weekend when I was sorting through old papers to dispose of. I know this handmade gift had to do with Father's Day and I wish I could recall what year it was. Perhaps 24 or 25 years ago; all I know now is that it was a long time ago.

Kimberly made this card for me before she reached her teen years. I do not know how many hours she spent to make this, but I do sort of recall how long I looked at this when she proudly gave it to me; probably 30 to 60 impatient seconds and without giving this gift much thought. 

What a fool I was!!

Front cover

I was a blind fool and did not recognize what was truly important in life. I was too caught up in work, trying to survive in a job I hated, living in a city I did not like and selfishly feeling sorry for myself believing that life was unfair. 

What a fool I was!!

And maybe I am still that fool.

I wish that I had taken more time to look at this thoughtful creation when it was new. I wish I had taken the time to carefully read what she had written when her thoughts were fresh. I wish I had given some genuine thought into how many hours Kimberly spent making this when she could have been watching TV instead. I wish I had said a meaningful, heartfelt thank you rather than simply being polite and then putting this aside for a quarter of a century.

Inside left

In spite of what was written here, I should have known what was important in life, given Kimberly a hug and told her that I love her, instead of being distracted, disinterested and doing nothing. 

Oh, what a useless father I was! Those years are gone and I shall no longer see creations like this nor am I likely to. 

Just yesterday, Kie said something to David about the wooden crates I make. Not knowing anything about this rediscovered card and subject, Kie said that only my children have no interest in the things I make. One day later I now know and understand the reason - they have learned to respond to me exactly as they were taught, which now I admit was the wrong way.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
(Proverbs 22:5)

Now that Kimberly and David are married adults and have their own young children, I truly wish that they shall be better and wiser parents than I was. Truly I desire that they do not make the same mistakes that I made.

Only now do I understand some of the advice that my mother gave me 25 or 26 years ago concerning my relationship with Kimberly and David. At the time I was annoyed and thought Mom was meddling. I was wrong! Again, I truly wished that I had attentively listened to her wisdom and could today hear her repeat those words to me again. She can't and I can't. Although Mom is still alive, the ravages of that hated Alzheimer's Disease robs both of us of that.

Inside right

The time that God gives us with our family, with friends, with people, and for our lifespan itself is a gift; be warned though, that time given to us here is not infinite.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum, August 21, 2014

One of Grandma's photos: David and Kimberly in spring 1989 when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit.