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!

4 thoughts on “Fathers and Others

  1. Andre M Bernier says:

    This is such a moving tribute to not only your sweet father, but to a phenomenal brother who truly stood in the gap. Reading about how he never complained once made me proud of having him as a lifelong friend… a bond that had wonderful and solid beginning, a bond that became indelible and permanent. It was also a conduit to everyone in your family, a connection I cherish. I’m glad you had time to kick back and enjoy the Virginia countryside during your busy weekend. What a stunning, manicured backyard!

    • Dawn says:

      André, our lives are all truly enriched having you as our friend (and Sally & Noah too)! Life has been full of challenges lately, but we have felt your prayers and God’s constant presence. 💕🙏🏼

  2. Rose Moore says:

    I lost my dad when I was 14, Dawn.. I was one the oldest of the large family Dad left behind due to massive heart attack at 49 years old. Large families were not so unusual in those days. (Born 1940, I am less than a month away from 79 years old)
    I was the daughter who became the auxiliary mama by choice, even before Dad died, and my brothers and sisters looked on me as a second mother. When I myself married, they looked upon my husband Bob as the new family patriarch, because they could always count on his help and kindness and advice.
    After 57 years of marriage, my Bob passed away, and these fully grown siblings had already raised families of their own, but they mourned my Bob as if they had indeed lost a second father.
    I guess you can see why I connected to your Father’s Day essay. It was moving; it was real; it was wonderful!

    • Dawn says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Rose, and for sharing your own personal story. God always puts just the right people in our lives to help us through the toughest of times, doesn’t He? We were never meant to “go it alone”. You and Bob stood in the gap and helped your family over the years as no one else could. What a blessing to your siblings!

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