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Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving Day

Location: Grasonville, Maryland

November 25, 2021

Dear Sweet Mama,

I’m alone mama, but I don’t feel lonely. I believe it took many years and your coaching for me to recognize the beauty in time spent alone. I am grateful, on this Thanksgiving Day, for friends who have a beautiful waterfront home and while they are away, I am able and interested in staying in their home and caring for their two dogs. I brought my Turk with me and there have been some interesting moments for sure. What a wonderful place for dogs, and humans, to frolic and rest. And rest is my focus over this period of time. Being still, reflective, meditative and at peace is how I would describe my first few days here alone. What a gift to be treasured. I did note that I could spend this week in pain and missing you as this is the first Thanksgiving without you here on Earth. I understand how that is a normal part of the grieving process, but I am doing what I can to embrace the idea that you and Daddy are around me everywhere. I picture you sitting here with me thrilled with the flocks of geese landing and taking off in the cove nearby. You would be exhilarated by the flock of White Swans who just arrived yesterday. The sun glistened off their wings and I could not believe my eyes when I saw them. It felt like a dream. For a second I allowed my mind to recall the scene in “The Notebook” when the main characters floated in a boat through hundreds of swans that had migrated south for the winter months. It really feels like a dream. Just before I settled down to write, I took the dogs out and found a feather in the yard near the water, thank you Daddy for showing me that you are indeed close by. Earlier this morning I went for a jog and asked for a sign that you were close and there it was, very close by a snake who was playing dead until I touched it gently with a stick! I laughed out loud and kept on moving. Yikes!

Yesterday, I took advantage of a beautiful, sunny, and still day and visited the Chesapeake Environmental Center to explore the trails through the marsh land, lake, and bay. As I changed my walk to an easy jog on the crushed gravel trail, I thought of the both of you and how you loved being by the water. I think about Assateague, and how in your later years you would select a quiet spot at the water’s edge on the bay side. I always wanted to be on the oceanside where I could hear the surf so I didn’t appreciate the still space that you were over the moon to occupy. But now… I get it! There is so much to be gained in the stillness of water and the way a gentle breeze can stir up the surface, causing ripples to lap at the shore creating a hypnotic melody.

As I followed the trail for the first time, I took advantage of every scenic station, often climbing a set of stairs to reach the overlook platform. There I stood taking in the late fall, camel color of the reeds, the deep blue of the water, the gentle breeze that sent the reeds into a swaying dance. It was so quiet. Another side trail took me to a boardwalk that led me to an isolated beach. As I stepped onto the beach I became overwhelmed by your essence, it was so evident that you arrived to take in the beauty of that place. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my jacket feeling the phone, my Kleenex, keys and then the bag that held a mixture of your ashes. This was not a planned spreading of your ashes. I grabbed the beach bag from our August trip to honor you and dad and the bag of ashes I intended to spread in Assateague remained. I pulled the bag and decided to reach in so that I could touch the ashes. I spoke to you both and then tossed the ashes into the water. The most amazing thing happened, the heavier pieces dropped in the water and instantly sank to the bottom - just a few inches below the surface of the water. But a cloud of dust, I suppose, blew away, floating to the reeds and water down the beach. Maybe it isn’t that surprising, but it was the way they stayed in the air for such a distance. I thought of the way, when blowing bubbles, the bubbles will float on a breeze and float far away until an obstacle pops them. Over and over I reached into the bag and pulled a handful of your remains up and out over the water and each time I paused to watch the cloud of your spirit float on the air. When I was done, I paused and looked down at my hands, turned white by the ash. I knelt at the water’s edge and put them down into the water resting on the sand, speaking to you as if you were standing right next to me. I felt you. I know you were there. I like to think that you are everywhere, always. I don’t want to steal you away from visiting my sisters and my brother. I like to think that they also feel you near even when they are hundreds of miles away from me. So thank you and I love you for embracing me in such a sacred place and time yesterday. I have never known that level of peace and serenity before and now that I know it I will never un-know it. I will focus and practice on returning to that place over and over whether by the water, in the mountains, or at home attending to daily tasks and work. All of it is joy, to be able to be part of the living, to love those in my life with whom I share time and space. To feel wonder and amazement in that which nature shows me if I take the time to notice. I think about the picture Megan sent to me of a tree against a startling blue sky in Prescott, AZ. Her comment was that she had to look up to see it and appreciate it enough to want to take a picture and send it to me. I get that, just as I like to think that you are seeing all that I see now, yesterday, and tomorrow and the next day. I don’t want you to miss a thing so that you feel peace and satisfaction that your baby girl absorbed your love of nature and all the glory in God’s world all around us. (As it says in the song by Donavon Frankenreiter “All Around Us” “Go out on the streets that surround you. One day we’ll all be taught Love is all we got.”) Mama, so many times you would tell me important things and the list always ended in Love is the most important thing. I agree. That is an everlasting gift and for that, on this Thanksgiving Day, I say thank you and I am so grateful for the love you expressed about all things miraculous in the daily living on this Earth in this gigantic Universe.

I love you so much Mom and Dad. Thank you for giving me this glorious life that continues to supply all that I need with an abundance that stuns me. Happy Thanksgiving, hug the family for me and watch over all of us across the miles and keep us safe and in good health to the extent that you can influence those things.

God Bless,

Julie Lynn


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