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What goes around…

Posted by on September 27, 2011

My dad passed away a few years ago. He had suffered for a while with lung cancer but the end was very peaceful.

In a morphine-induced twilight world, he took one last breath and slipped away.

I wasn’t in the hospital room. I was in the parking lot lugging a basket full of food up to the rest of the family; the hospital room watchers were on duty as we were taking turns. All of us had families to manage, children to corral, spouses to feed. In the midst of death, life had to go on.

As it does.

I missed him slipping away by moments. It didn’t matter. I had been there for days in that room which had echoed with laughter and memories as he lay there quietly in his twilight world. I hope he heard us.

I think he did.

He always smiled when we all got going with stories and laughter – laughter so hard that we cried. It’s a family trait; laughing until you cry.

I was thinking of him as I just went through a bunch of photos from a family trip we took to Tybee Island, Georgia this summer. He loved family vacations at the beach. One of our fondest family memories is playing “Win, Lose or Draw” one year in our beach house and my dad using sound effects to explain his drawing. We tried to tell him that was cheating but we were all laughing too hard.

Laughing until we cried.

I snapped a picture of my daughter holding my grandson on the beach one day at Tybee.

Tybee Island, Georgia 2011.

As I was looking at it, a memory surfaced and I went rooting through my photo albums until I found this picture.

It’s me with that same daughter.

Pensacola, Florida 1982.

At a beach.

Long, long ago.

I’m sure there is a picture somewhere of my mom holding me like this on a beach.

And, since my mom was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida and my grandmother lived there her whole life, there’s probably a picture somewhere like this of my grandmother holding my mom. If there was one taken, it was in black and white and is old and tattered.

Or maybe it’s just a picture in someone’s memory.

A picture of a mom on the beach holding a child.

And somewhere, thinking of family and beaches and games and laughing until you cry, my dad is smiling.

17 Responses to What goes around…

  1. inka

    I’m sure your dad is commenting on this bitter sweet post in heaven. With a smile on his face.
    inka recently posted..Why inspiring others is fun

  2. Technosyncratic Travel Blog

    It’s always touching to see continuity like this. =)
    Technosyncratic Travel Blog recently posted..The Mediterranean Beauty of Malta

  3. Sophie

    Lovely this!
    Sophie recently posted..St Moritz in September

  4. Cuz Mike in ATl

    Your dad was a World Traveler too, you know. As a little boy…….I always looked up to Uncle George Everett…….still do. And yes, our family still like to tell stories and laugh, in both the good and bad times.

  5. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    I love that you have that picture! It is so cool. I’m positive your Dad is smiling!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Salzburg and My First Opera

  6. Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    Very touching, indeed.
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..Overcome Your Fear of Cruising

  7. Kelly

    Aww, what a sweet post. I’m currently traveling with my dad for the first time ever.. we’ve never been that close. I’m savoring the time.
    Kelly recently posted..Sleep on the Cheap: Creative Ideas for Lodging While Traveling

  8. robin

    A really beautiful post. A genuine thank you for sharing.
    robin recently posted..The Castle, the Eagle and the Lake.

  9. Michaela

    Sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive family unit. And the generational pictures are touching. Thank you for sharing.
    Michaela recently posted..The Secret of Barf Bags

  10. Joyce Hahn

    Such a lively comment, touching, thought provoking, just so gently family.

  11. jenjenk

    love those photos…so much history and tradition…
    jenjenk recently posted..Eating in Curacao

  12. Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)

    How poignant. My sister and I had the same death bed vigil with our father. He had an incurable wanderlust, not so easily scratched in his generation (the Greatest Generation that lived through the Great Depression and fought World War II), but even as a public school teacher, he found ways to take us to live in Mexico for a year (on a sabbatical) and in England for year (as an exchange teacher). I inherited the wandering gene and wherever I go, I think of him.
    Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) recently posted..A Baby Boomer Trip Down Memory Lane: A Fish Out of Water in Devizes, Wiltshire, England – 1970

  13. Cathy Sweeney

    Lovely, Jan. You got me reminiscing about several things right now — trips with my folks, places we went, family laughter and those last times I saw my mom and dad before their deaths. I’m always grateful for the wonderful memories.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Getting Fresh at Balnearea Beach

  14. Jackie Smith

    A lovely look back at the generations of travel. As I grew us my family’s economic means were such that we didn’t travel but we did have the laughter – memories of the best kind.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..What Happens in Vegas. . .

  15. Marcia

    Very touching story, Jan. Funny how we end up repeating patterns without even knowing.

    And I thought I was special since I’m the only one in my family, come to think of it, the only one I know – I must not know a lot of people! – who laughs when I cry.
    Marcia recently posted..Time for Church!

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