Fathers and Others

It’s been an eventful weekend for me.

I spent the last three days caring for my brother as he recovers from surgery — or at least that was the plan. He ended up spending a bit longer in the hospital than expected, so my care-giving was redefined. While he was under the watchful eye of doctors and nurses, I cared for his home.

Cleaning House

My brother lives out in the country, about 40 miles away from us. So after I packed my bag, I did what any loving sister would do: I took a trip to Trader Joe’s! I bought some of our favorite snacks and some ingredients to prepare a few healthy meals for him. But when his hospital visit was extended, I decided to stay and enjoy this time alone as a bit of respite for myself.

Yesterday I cleaned his house from top to bottom, and even rearranged his living room to make better use of his space. (With his permission, of course.) In between vacuuming and dusting, I took frequent breaks to sit outside on the patio, swinging on the swing and listening to the birds. It was so peaceful!

In reality, my mind and body both benefitted from the cleaning. And the house looks pretty good too.

Stepping Into the Gap

We lost our father while we were both in our 20’s. It was a horrible blow, especially to Mom. But we clung together for support, and leaned on each other for strength over the years. My brother has been by our mother’s side for over 33 years, stepping in and taking care of what needed to be done. This was especially important when I moved to Virginia.

In so many ways, he took on my dad’s role. He helped with household repairs, financial decisions, and simple day-to-day tasks. And he never complained. Not once. And decades later, he packed up all their belongings and moved Mom closer to us so we could continue to support one another as her health declined.

While my brother is not a father himself, he became father-like in his role. I can never thank him enough. And if our mom had her memory back again, even for one brief moment, I know she would thank him too.

God blessed me with an earthly father, and I miss him so much today. But He also blessed me with a caring big brother to watch over our family when Dad was called home to heaven. Today I am grateful for both.

Happy Father’s Day!

Paws and Passages

Today is a bit of a sad day in our household as we said goodbye to Nicky, a beloved member of our family for over 22 years. Nicky moved to Virginia with us in 1998 when he was not much more than a kitten. This long-haired Polydactyl outlived five other members of our fur family — two of his companions that moved here with us, and three that were adopted over the past 20 years. Amazing!

Pets are such an important part of our lives, aren’t they? They truly become members of the family providing companionship and comfort, and a lot of special memories. This blog could be filled with harrowing stories of Nicky using up his “nine lives” with his crazy antics over the years. Oh, the tales he could tell!

But beyond companionship and comfort, there are so many stories about how rescued and adopted animals actually saved their owners from lives of loneliness, isolation and despair. And there is nothing quite like the bond created when a service animal enters a home. They bring peace and healing to lives that were previously broken or damaged by violence, illness or crisis. These highly-trained animals open the door to normal living again.

Heaven-Sent Love

With all the millions of animals in this world seeking homes, somehow we always find our perfect match. Although the Bible never mentions pets, the Lord must know how much we love them. He also knows how much it hurts when they leave us.

So, on behalf of all the grateful pet owners reading this, let’s take this opportunity to thank God for Nicky, and all the pets who have wandered into our lives and captured our hearts. Thank you, Lord, for every purr and meow, bark and tail wag. Our lives have been blessed and enriched by our fur families’ unconditional love and steadfast presence.

In almost 37 years of marriage, we have always had at least one cat in our home. We are going to have some pet-free time now. (I wonder how long that will last?) Meanwhile we are going to enjoy our daughter’s two “grand-bunnies” that reside in our basement. Max and Charlie will be getting an extra dose of cuddles today. 💕