Love, Ed

Love-Ed

 

Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the Dawn has come.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Life and More Life

My father, whom I adored, died two years ago today. Interestingly, he chose November 11th, Remembrance Day, to move on to the next phase of life. He enjoyed a long, happy life knowing that he was deeply loved by his family. And although he is no longer physically with us, I must assure you that I am not saddened by his passing because—and this may sound strange—he does not feel lost to me.

I understand that there will never be agreement as to what does or does not transpire after we die—some believe that there is something more after we leave this body and some do not. And, while I have no desire to alter anyone’s beliefs, I admit that I fall into the camp that believes life is eternal—that our consciousness continues on in some fashion after we depart these bodies. Though I can’t say I understand how it plays out, I have an unshakeable knowing in my gut that death is simply a natural part of the continuation of life.

I was very close to my father, so when he died I wondered if I’d experience any signs that he was still around me in spirit—whether I would feel his presence around me in some way. And, yes, I can happily say that I immediately noticed many small signs, all very playful and humorous (my Dad loved few things more than a good joke). But the most powerful and beautiful experience came a few weeks after his death when my partner and I made the long trek to my small prairie hometown to visit my mother.

Stories in the Coffee Shop

One evening during our visit with my mother, we all went out for tea to a cozy little coffee shop. The place was largely empty and we sat at a corner table nestled at the back of the room. We chatted about my father over a hot cup of tea, which felt particularly comforting on that cold, blustery November night. We talked of how everyone who met him loved him; we spoke of how fun he was to be with—of how he laughed easily and often, and of how, when he laughed, his eyes would crinkle up and disappear into two half moons. We spoke of his kind, gentle and generous nature and of how he was a soother of ruffled feathers, always trying to make the best of things, and of that way he had of making you believe that somehow everything would be alright.

We sipped our tea, speaking affectionately and appreciatively of my father, until a natural lull in the conversation stretched into a comfortable silence, which morphed into a deep sense of peace. Breaking the spell, my mother abruptly leaned forward, reached around to the back of her neck and unclasped the gold necklace she was wearing. On this necklace hung two small hearts.

DSC_2778_6896_3crTwo Hearts

Happily married for nearly 60 years, my mother and father were inseparable, especially in their later years, their last two decades together. They openly displayed their genuine warmth and affection for each other, holding hands whenever they walked together, lovingly teasing each other, addressing each other by pet names, and laughing—laughing a whole lot. They were fun to be around. People often referred to them as “The Love Birds”. My Dad, who was not generally a big shopper himself, happily accompanied my mother on any kind of shopping expedition, frequently encouraging her to, as he said, “get something nice for yourself”. He was a particularly patient companion whenever my mother shopped for clothing, I think because it delighted him to buy her anything she loved.

And so it was on an ordinary shopping trip that my father quietly stole away from my mother as she was trying on clothing and returned a short time later with a little gold heart. It wasn’t fancy; it was a small gold heart with the simple words, “Love, Ed”, inscribed on the back. My Mom was totally delighted and deeply touched. She loved that heart as if it were the most precious gem on earth. She immediately added it to the gold chain she wore, on which another heart, her favourite amber heart, was already suspended. My mother has a strong affinity to amber jewelery and she had purchased this particular amber heart pendant for herself some years earlier. From the day she added my Dad’s gold heart, it became a familiar sight to see her wearing that necklace, the two hearts dangling side by side on her breast. “This heart is me”, she’d often say to me, pointing to one of the two hearts around her neck, “And this one is Papa,” pointing to the other. “We will always be together.”

Bestowing Treasures

Over the past few years, my mother developed a strong urge to pare down and simplify her life and began to give away her jewellery and other personal treasures to her family, saying that she wanted to experience the joy of giving her children the things that mattered most to her while she was still alive. For some time, my mother had been wanting to give me her gold chain with the two hearts on it. But, while I was deeply moved and loved the chain and the two hearts and the beautiful story attached to it, I was reluctant to take it because I knew how special it was to her and I simply wanted her to keep wearing it.

Love, Ed

Now, just a few weeks after my father’s passing, my mother, my partner and I are enjoying a moment of peace in the coffee shop when my mother suddenly reached behind her neck to unclasp her gold chain with the two precious hearts. Clutching the necklace, her hand extended toward me as she told me that now was the time for me to have it. In truth, I was a bit shocked. I wasn’t at all ready for it and immediately told her, No…no, not yet, Mom—keep wearing it. I’ll take it later, I promise. But, no, she wasn’t having it. This time, she was extremely determined. In fact, she was so unusually adamant that I quickly relented and graciously accepted—if it was that important to her that I should have it now, then happy would I be to receive it. I knew it would be something I would cherish forever.

We both stood. Facing my back, she reached around from behind me to carefully place the gold chain and the hearts, still warm from the heat of her body, onto my chest, and closed the clasp at the back. I was not expecting what happened next. The moment the necklace touched my body something incredibly beautiful and completely unexpected occurred: instantly, almost overwhelmingly, a warm surge of energy and an indescribable feeling of love flowed into every part of me, while at the same time I had the distinct physical sensation of feeling my father’s arms wrapped lovingly around me. It was like getting a huge hug from the inside-out. I also felt as if my mother’s arms were wrapped around my body (which physically they were not). A powerful stream of love flowed through me, a simultaneous and total blending of love from both my parents. It was an indescribably beautiful experience, like the most comforting, warm blanket of love was wrapping itself around me. If I ever had any doubts that my father was truly still around me, they vanished forever in that moment.

I wear this precious necklace often. And every time I put it on, I remember that loving hug and I get warm tingles rushing down my spine all over again.

A Beam of Rainbow Light

And here’s a little aside—as I prepared to take a photograph to accompany this post, I asked my Dad for help in getting a good shot of the necklace and pendants. When I uploaded my photos and reviewed the shots I got, I saw to my surprise that they each contained a small band of rainbow light that I could not see when I was taking the photographs. As you can see in the photo, the rainbow runs perfectly across the words, “Love, Ed”. Coincidence? For many it may be. But not for me. Thanks, Dad.

 

Photo Credit

Two Hearts, by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2014 madlyinlovewithlife

 

23 thoughts on “Love, Ed

  1. This little piece is written so beautifully. I can feel the love you have for your dad. I will consider my life to be a great success if my family feels the same about me when I’m gone. Thanks for this. It made my day.

  2. Hello Jeannie,
    Oh my goodness, who cut the onions? My eyes are watering as I read this for the second time (to make sure I don’t miss a single detail). Others have already commented, but I too, want to say, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful tribute to your parents. It’s wonderful to know they were so in love, and cherished each other. With all the stories of unhappy couples abounding, it’s comforting to know that yes, there is happiness out there, with mutual love and respect.

    If I may say so, your parents did an amazing job of passing on their finest qualities to you. And I think it’s grand that you’re so proud to be their child. I’m sure your father is pleased and I’m sure it’s no mere coincidence that the rainbow runs across “Love, Ed.” Once again, thank you for sharing. Okay, now back to cutting onions… ;)

    • Hello Takami! A sincere thank you for your lovely, heartfelt comments. I truly feel blessed to have both of these beautiful people in my life. Once again, thank you so much for your very kind words. Wishing you a wonderful day! :))

  3. Hi Jeannie. What a wonderful tribute you posted for dad. Two years doesn’t seem so long ago. The photo captures so perfectly the love shared by mom and dad and all the magic he made happen for us.

    Your story about how mom gave you the necklace is so touching. What an honour to have experienced that moment – thank you so much for sharing it. The necklace could not be in better hands!

    Dad was truly a remarkable man who continues to be my role model.
    Thanks, Jeannie, so much for the post.

    PS: After thinking about it for a while, I decided to share the words to a song I wrote about twenty years ago (last stanza is the verse – that’s why it’s a bit different than the first two). I often find myself humming and singing it to myself when I am working on the yard, or shovelling snow, or painting a room, or any solitary manual work. It just never goes away.

    For Dad

    He ploughs his fields but he never looks back
    At harvests that reap
    Smiles of joy … and heads held high … and hearts he made leap.
    Instead his lonely pace and plough advance
    To another day
    In his own way.

    His simple tune became the song we grew up with
    Always singing.
    No words we sang, for none there was, but its melody keeps on ringing.
    To join his song in harmony, we thought,
    Would make us like our father –
    Unlike any other.

    Keep singing dad, you’re doing fine.
    You never let us down.
    If we could be as strong as you,
    We’ll carry far your crown.
    You’ve got a lot to be proud of –
    Like you there are too few.
    Keep singing dad, you’re not alone –
    We’re singing with you too.

    • My dear, sweet brother,

      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful song. As I read your heartfelt, loving words, I could hear you strumming your guitar. I have always known that Dad has been a role model for you, and a successful one too, for you are very much like your father. And I know this with all of my heart: he is humming and singing every word with you as you work. Dad was deaf, yet he loved music so much, and finally he gets to sing!

      Thanks again for your lovely comment, and especially for sharing your beautiful song.

      Love you,
      Jeannie

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your story of the heart pendant given to you by your Mother. I, like your Mother, agree that it is so much nicer to give special gifts like this to your loved ones while you are still alive. Your parents sound like fabulous people who are madly in love with each other.
    I also believe that there is life after death and I find myself looking for signs from my granddaughter Shayna is watching over me and her loved ones. Thanks Jeannie for sharing,it gives me hope~

    • Dianne! What a happy surprise to see you here! :)) Thank you so much for your lovely comments. And I know this with all my heart: there is every reason to believe that your beautiful granddaughter is always close to you in spirit. Thank you for stopping by.

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