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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Remembering The Sunshine

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Pic from somewhere on the internets. I found it a long time ago.

For the past 9 years this week has been a tough one for me. It is the anniversary of my dad's death, the week he lost his battle with cancer and I lost a part of my heart.

I usually become introverted and melancholy and it takes awhile to kick the funk and get back into the happier swing of things. However, this year I decided that I was going to approach things differently. I am taking control of my emotions by making it a week of celebration instead of loss - a celebration of the life he lived.

On Sunday I went to his grave. Spiderman has always been his favorite superhero and so I blasted Michael Buble's version of the Spiderman Theme Song from my car and performed it there with a combination of dancing and sign language. Irreverent? Maybe. But I drove away laughing, knowing he would have gotten a kick out of my antics.

Monday was a day for quarters. Dad always brought quarters to my kids whenever he would come to visit and so I took a roll of quarters and left them in places for others to discover. On the sidewalk at the elementary school, on top of the pumps at the gas station and on the shelves at the library. I even slid a few dollars worth inside of lockers at the high school when I went to my daughter's basketball game. It made me smile all day to think of someone finding one unexpectedly.

Yesterday I observed and I wrote. I made a list of all of the characteristics and quirks and qualities my kids have inherited from my dad and was reminded that he still lives in them. I looked at pictures of my brother and saw Dad there, too. It was a happy day.

Today I will freeze a box of Hostess Ding Dongs and share them with my family later tonight, along with some popcorn. These were two of his favorite treats. The Ding Dongs were a highly coveted delicacy and popcorn was a nightly staple when we gathered around the TV to watch everything from Highway To Heaven to The A-Team.

Thursday is a day of preparation. I will be cutting and gluing and getting things ready for Friday, the day I have been most looking forward to!

Friday will be ice cream day. Dad loved ice cream and I can not wait to share his love with unsuspecting people all over our city! Until this plan becomes reality I would prefer to keep the details to myself but let me just say this: I can NOT WAIT until Friday!

I guess the point of this post is this: I have the power to decide how to approach things. And I think it's safe to say that this week of this year is going to bring plenty of wonderful memories to mind for years to come. Unlike years past when I have chosen to reminisce on what was missing from my life, this year I have chosen to celebrate what I still have - nearly 28 years worth of wonderful memories of my father.

Happiness is a choice and it has made a world of difference to me that I planned to be happy this week. To the point where I don't want to stop, actually. Because you know what?

Nothing brings happiness quite like choosing sunshine when it feels like winter.


Janet said...

Hi! My name is Janet, I'm Laura Buchanan's Mom and she thought I'd enjoy your blog. And I do! So I thought I'd let you know.

This was a beautiful post. I love being reminded that we get to CHOOSE how we will react to any situation. I love that you are celebrating your Dad's life this week!

laura said...

My mom is cool, huh Gerb?

I love this post. You are awesome!

Corine said...

AWESOME!!!! This new attitude of yours sums up the theme of my new attitude about life!

There is always something to celebrate. For everything I don't have there are a 100 things I do have. And,


Good for you for celebrating, rather than mourning! ;D

PS. Last night was fun! I'm happy to be getting to know you!

Gerb said...

Janet- I love your daughter! Thank you for raising such a strong and amazing person. When my son, now almost 17, lists his favorite teachers, he names 3 and your daughter is one of them. Thanks for reading and for your kind comment. You are always most welcome here.

Laura- Thanks! And yes, your mom is cool. Do you ever loan her out?

Corine- It's funny how a change of perspective can turn things so completely around. Celebrating is so much more exhilarating than mourning! And I'm sure this is the way my dad would prefer to be remembered.

Just SO said...

What a wonderful way to remember your dad!! Sunshine can be found, or rather made, even in the darkest of places. Thanks for this reminder.

Richard & Natalie said...

One of my favorite quotes is "Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm glad you are choosing to celebrate the sunshine that your dad brought into your life by sharing some of your own this week through deeds that honor him.
I'm sure your dad would greatly approve.
Beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to remember your dad and celebrating his memory. In his and your honor, I think I'll put some quarters around too!

Rachel said...

Oh Gerb I just love this! What a wonderful way of remembering your father. I can just imagine you walking around placing quarters for unsuspected surprises and dancing at your fathers grave. Fabulous! I don't think it is irreverent at all! What a fun week. I'm so glad you are able to "celebrate" your fathers life. What a beautiful thing.

Rachel said...

P.S. When I saw the picture come up the song, "I'm walkin'on Sunshine Yeaa-ah!" started going through my mind and still is on this grey winter day! You've given a gift!

Rebecca said...


I love it. You are a ray of sunshine, and you know how I'm addicted to that stuff!

Gina said...

You of all people could think this up, make it a joyful week and spread the joy in doing so. Love it!

Gerb said...

SO- Thanks. It has been a wonderful week, for sure.

Natalie- I LOVE that quote. I may have to post it somewhere as a reminder. Thanks for sharing!

Leslie- Thank you, I feel honored that you would want to do that. You're awesome.

Rachel- I enjoyed the performance so much that I am debating an encore. Maybe even with my kids in tow. And I love that picture - I think it goes great with Natalie's quote, actually.

Bec- Well, if it would help, we could hang out sometime soon. You know, to satisfy your sunshine addiction...

Gina- You always say things that make me feel like an amazing person. It's your gift. Thank you!

Cami said...

Gerb, this is the same week Rob's dad died of leukemia, only 6 years ago. I didn't know him really well, Rob and I had only been married a year and a half, and we didn't see him very often. But I will always remember him for the love and kindness he showed me. He was truly a remarkable man.

I love that you are celebrating instead of mourning this week. You amaze me. And maybe I'll have to make my way down to P-town (don't want to give anything too personal away on the internet) on Friday. :)

Anaise said...

I'm trying to take a little of your optimism into my heart today.

PMC said...

ok, gerb, you are so totally fabulous.

Gerb said...

Cami- If you do make it to P-town, call me on my cell. I will likely be out and about, but I'd love to see you!

Anaise- It can be hard sometimes, I know.

PMC- It almost seems selfish because it feels so great, you know? But thanks for the compliment. It means a lot.

Lori said...

Gerb--beautiful post. I love how embrace the memory of your father with such joy and enthusiasm, and celebrate it rather than mourn it. It's a wonderful way to celebrate and remember a life lived, rather than dwell on the fact that that person is no longer present. Good on you.

Annette said...

Love that version of spiderman! (Reminds me of "spiderpig"- the only thing I ever liked from the Simpsons. But, I digress.) I think most people who have passed on would love the idea of celebrating their lives. I know your Dad is proud of you and probably having a good laugh over your secret icecream day!

I hope at my funeral they will be playing my fav. music, eating my fav. foods, and remembering the good times. Cause, that's really what life's all about, right?

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