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My Joys my joys | it's the little things

My no-matter-what Valentine

I could only grab a picture of one of these beautiful birds- and it is not the best photo, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most special photographs I was ever able to capture.

When my Dad was a little boy, he made the mistake of fiddling with a blue jays eggs while they were in the nest and mama bird seemed to be nowhere around.  Well, little did he know, she was very close by, and she chased him across the big backyard and pecked him so hard in the noggin, that he learned a painful lesson that day.  He would tell this story to my sister and I many times, and even though I knew it must have been crazy scary for little dad-but- I couldn’t help cracking up and the scene of it all! Of course how could I not think of dad whenever I see a blue jay?  And, it isn’t all that often we see them  here in NYC- so I know what happened back on Valentines day 2009 was more than a coincidence.

 
My dad has always been my number one Valentine.  No matter what, he was always there with a card, a box of candy and one of his strong-hold-on-with-your-whole-heart hugs.  I remember one valentines day after I had been married, I didn’t get a chance to see him for lunch that day because work was just too hectic.  I couldn’t leave my desk.  I was crushed.  He surprised me at the train station with his tokens of love and a big old hug and made it all better. My number one guy.
 
So, in 2009, dad had been gone for 4 years now.  And no matter what people say, time does not heal a broken heart.  You just learn to live with the pain- and the happy memories come to surface to help balance out the hurt.  But, they make the missing that much more vivid.  The good times were wonderful- but remembering them also shouts that they are a season passed.  And one that can not be revisited.  That Valentines day, my boys and husband showered me with lots of love- handmade hearts and lace trimmed cards, boxes of chocolates, hugs and kisses. And though I loved it all- I had such a hole in my heart that year.  Maybe the finality of his passing set in.  I don’t know.  Here I was, surrounded by so much love, but I felt so alone.  I missed my Daddy.
 
I was looking out my backyard window feeling this way, and through teary eyes, I saw a flash of blue.  I followed it- scanning the sky overhead, and it was gone.  Before I could turn away, I heard the unmistakable call of a blue jay   It was on my deck- looking right into my window. Then two more joined him.  The three birds sat still, looking right into my window and a cardinal joined them.  Silence. And just then, they flew about the deck, in a playful circle for a full minute- and were gone.  It’s never happened again- but I know why in happened then.  In my heart I believe, I know, that this was a gift from my dad.  One blue jay for each my mom, sister and myself- and the beautiful red cardinal was his Valentine.
 
He’s never forgotten to send  me one- I just keep my eyes, my faith and my heart open, and each year, he finds a way to make it a little better for this girl of his.
 
Happy Valentines day Dad.
I love you.

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Anne
    February 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I just loved reading your blog today. Thank you. I lost my dad in 2004. He was my biggest supporter, so I know about having a hole in your heart. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

  • Reply
    Anne
    February 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I just loved reading your blog today. Thank you. I lost my dad in 2004. He was my biggest supporter, so I know about having a hole in your heart. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

  • Reply
    rennemarie
    February 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks Anne- after I lost him- I guess my eyes were opened to how very many broken people there are trying to live lives as normal… and I really believe that by supporting each other- it helps mend us just a bit- I hope you have a Happy day as well- I am sure there is love all around you 🙂

  • Reply
    rennemarie
    February 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks Anne- after I lost him- I guess my eyes were opened to how very many broken people there are trying to live lives as normal… and I really believe that by supporting each other- it helps mend us just a bit- I hope you have a Happy day as well- I am sure there is love all around you 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacey
    February 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Oh my gosh…this post made me cry. Wonderful and so hope giving!

  • Reply
    Stacey
    February 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Oh my gosh…this post made me cry. Wonderful and so hope giving!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I know how you feel. It has only been 4 months since we lost Mom. I have been staying with Dad for the past week and a half to help him recuperate from his 5th bronchial infection (which required hospitalization), since she died. It is so hard to be around him and feel strange about not wanting to talk about Mom thinking it will upset him. This visit I told him it was wierder not to talk about her and started to insert references to her in our conversations. Losing a parent is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. I am at the stage where I have to keep reminding myself to remember the happy memories. I know it will take awhile to move beyond the intense sense of loss and pain. My sisters keep saying Mom sends them "signs" constantly (the latest one being a sighting of many, many bluebirds (of happiness). 🙂 I hope you felt your Dad's love surrounding you this Valentine's Day.

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I know how you feel. It has only been 4 months since we lost Mom. I have been staying with Dad for the past week and a half to help him recuperate from his 5th bronchial infection (which required hospitalization), since she died. It is so hard to be around him and feel strange about not wanting to talk about Mom thinking it will upset him. This visit I told him it was wierder not to talk about her and started to insert references to her in our conversations. Losing a parent is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. I am at the stage where I have to keep reminding myself to remember the happy memories. I know it will take awhile to move beyond the intense sense of loss and pain. My sisters keep saying Mom sends them "signs" constantly (the latest one being a sighting of many, many bluebirds (of happiness). 🙂 I hope you felt your Dad's love surrounding you this Valentine's Day.

  • Reply
    rennemarie
    February 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    4 months 🙁 It must all be so raw for you Mary- I am sorry. But I know for me, I have to tak about my dad. Tell the silly stories, quips, anectodotes- that's what keeps him alive for me. Beyond the photos- its what keeps his spirit fresh in my mind- so talk about Mom. It may feel difficult at first- but soon, it will be easier. And if its too hard to talk out loud, find a special journal and write it down for you to read. Here's to an easier spring- full of bluebirds and signs you can not help but recognize. I know with my whole heart they are there. 🙂

  • Reply
    rennemarie
    February 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    4 months 🙁 It must all be so raw for you Mary- I am sorry. But I know for me, I have to tak about my dad. Tell the silly stories, quips, anectodotes- that's what keeps him alive for me. Beyond the photos- its what keeps his spirit fresh in my mind- so talk about Mom. It may feel difficult at first- but soon, it will be easier. And if its too hard to talk out loud, find a special journal and write it down for you to read. Here's to an easier spring- full of bluebirds and signs you can not help but recognize. I know with my whole heart they are there. 🙂

  • Reply
    Peggy Drechsler
    February 5, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Thank you so very much for this wonderful, inspiring blog post! My oldest daughter passed away from brain cancer on Valentine's Day, 2011. I am glad she is free of the horrendous pain and suffering she endured, but I miss her so much and I dread each Valentine's Day. Thank you for giving me a different perspective…I will try very hard to watch with hope between now and then instead of with dread.

    I am sorry that you have lost your Dad. Losing a parent is tough, too! I lost my Dad 3 months after he turned 60, but I am fortunate that my Mom is still alive. We have become much closer since Dad's passing (my Mom and I used to fight like cats and dogs), and I hope that this will also happen between you and your Mom.

  • Reply
    Peggy Drechsler
    February 5, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Thank you so very much for this wonderful, inspiring blog post! My oldest daughter passed away from brain cancer on Valentine's Day, 2011. I am glad she is free of the horrendous pain and suffering she endured, but I miss her so much and I dread each Valentine's Day. Thank you for giving me a different perspective…I will try very hard to watch with hope between now and then instead of with dread.

    I am sorry that you have lost your Dad. Losing a parent is tough, too! I lost my Dad 3 months after he turned 60, but I am fortunate that my Mom is still alive. We have become much closer since Dad's passing (my Mom and I used to fight like cats and dogs), and I hope that this will also happen between you and your Mom.

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