Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where I Imagine You Are

So far my dear son, I don't know much about Heaven other than knowing from so many I trust that it is inexplicably wondrous beyond imagining, not just a new physical place without the constraints of our apparently frail human bodies.
Sometimes as I long for you and Dad, I imagine where you might spend some of your time.
The picture above is where I think you and Dad might summer, in a cottage-y, place near a beautiful sea, with wildlife, peace, and a gentle breeze. I know that men of the universe such as you and Dad would not be content to remain in one place all year. I know that between worship, and work you are doing for God, that you play hard as well in discovering all that the Heavens have in store.
As a limited human myself, I can only imagine the places you might consider home as you take a breath. Know that as you look and check on me, we are thinking of you.
Greetings and love from lower Earth.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Bicycle

Yesterday I made my usual early Saturday run to Wal-Mart for dog food, general supplies, a phone card for one of my kids, etc. On my return my husband had also gotten up early, and our newest son, James, while shovelling in cereal, said, "Dad's not here. " crunch, crunch. "He took a bicycle to the dump". "Whose bicycle ?" I asked. "I dunno" said James. "Just a small bicycle". I headed for the phone on the off chance that it was Daniel's bicycle. I called my husband twice, whose cellphone is often dead on a Saturday, as the charge only lasts five days. Without saying anything more to J. I headed to the car and drove the long distance, deep to the pine forests where the small local dump for our small rural community is located. I got there, and found Daniel's precious blue bicycle, down deep in a dumpster about 12 feet below the concrete platform, soon to be crushed by the compacter. It looked sad as it lay twisted atop an old metal roof, dented metal cabinets, and another bicycle which looked newer than Daniel's. I asked the attendant if there was any way that I could get the bicycle back, and before I knew it I had told him why and tears were streaming down my face. The gentleman went to quite a bit of trouble to get down to the dumpster below the platform and climb in it, to rescue Daniel's bicycle. By that time, my husband had remembered to plug his phone into the truck and it was charging. I told him that I was at the dump and that my car is too small to bring the bicycle home. He agreed to return and take the bike home.
When I saw him I was enraged. "How could you dump Daniel's bicycle behind my back, when I'm not home, without even asking?". He looked sad. He said, "Daniel never had a bike." "Daniel had three bikes !" I said. "This was the first one, and it had training wheels and I took them off and (our eldest son) Adam and I taught him to ride". This had been no small feat because most of the area around our homes are farms and we have dirt roads or gravel roads, and no blacktop. I was sad when I realized that my husband was telling what he believed to be the truth. When the other kids were born, we both returned to work. We both juggled daycare and schedules, and kid's sick days, but when Daniel was born, David's work schedule intensified, responsibilities to other relatives took a lot of his time. It was also the first time I had been able to essentially remain at home with one of our children from birth, even though I did write articles from time to time. While I did everything with Daniel, including homeschool him and his siblings, David was at work, in a difficult accountable job without a great deal of encouragement. I realized yesterday that while I taught Daniel to balance on that bicycle, and Adam ultimately helped me remove the training wheels, and as Daniel met that milestone, David was seventy miles away, going to meetings, designing systems for buildings etc. and tangling with clients, governmental authorities, and the business owners themselves. His hard work bought me the luxury of being there for Daniel at every turn. It is no wonder that David does not recall Daniel's bikes or that he learned to ride and when. This was a privilege that David bought for me with his labors, and although David did share other important memories with Daniel, this one had been mine alone.
I think it's important to remember that although we all grieve the loss of our family member that we each bring a package of different memories and that we may not have recall or understanding of everything, the way another family member might. I also notice that Daniel likes a lot of DVDs and TV programs that I simply didn't know about, but were well known to all of his siblings.
Best wishes to everyone. I am not sure what to do with the small bike, especially since it's too large to bronze and place on a necklace. A dear friend has since suggested that we hang it as a remembrance high in the barn, as a symbol of a heavenly bicycle.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Cracked Easter

Daniel and Dad, I am hoping you both had the most wonderful of Easters. I would imagine that Heaven has a wonderful celebration. I apologize for the one we had, or really didn't have, this year. Last year I struggled to have the annual Easter Egg Hunt that Daniel, in particular loved so much. I very much wanted him to see that we would proceed as he would want. This year, we are consumed with taking care of Mark, our dear canine friend, who needs turning, feeding, watering, all by hand. We would euthanize him if he were in pain, but he still wishes to eat and drink and is still joyous when he sees us, and so no matter how time consuming the work of caring for him, he is deserving. I also was sick the day before and lost valuable planning time. This year I had planned to fill the eggs with quarters, or different wrapped candies. The extreme heat (82 today) would have made the chocolate a disaster, and so we will have the egg hunt on another day. I think of you both all the time. Most days I function well and you both would be pleased, but there are days like today where I just miss you, and nothing else much matters. Please tell Jesus that Mark is almost ready to be called. I love you both so very much.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Monarch of the Glen

In 2005, our daughter Stephanie brought home a DVD from the library. It was the first season of the "Monarch of the Glen" television series, produced by Ecosse Films and BBC and set in Scotland. Daniel and I particularly were captivated by the cinematography, by the family oriented storylines, and we were quickly hooked. One by one, we either bought or borrowed each of the DVDs as were available to that point. We later learned that the final season of Monarch was in production, and that all of the props were going to be sold nearby the site of filming near Lagganmore in Scotland. Daniel was excited as I contacted the prop master and bought a few things. Shortly after I made contact with another person who went to the sale in Scotland and who bought a great deal, and I bought a considerable number of souvenirs from him which grace our home now. We also have a large collection of drawings, plans, continuity pictures, stationery, checkbooks, mail, etc. and likely have the largest "Monarch" memorabilia collection outside the UK. This was all to be Daniel's someday, souvenirs of his favorite program, collected through dumb luck and happy accident.
The Monarch of the Glen, Series 1-7 are available as BBC DVDs now. (Season 8 will be available shortly) Daniel absolutely loved these, and in an odd way, we began to feel as if the characters were actual family of ours. We were often reminded of our UK family members while watching the program. Strangely, when Daniel passed, I wanted to let all of the characters know. I somehow expected that they would all come and comfort us, and that somehow they knew that Daniel was their biggest fan. This is how very good the series were. They convinced us not only that they were a family, but they endeared us to them sufficiently that we left thinking they were OUR family as well. We wish all the crew, cameramen, series score composer, writers, producers, actors, propmasters, and continuity people best wishes as they move on to other projects. Thank you all for so many hours of enjoyment,on behalf of Daniel, myself and the rest of our family.

Update:       February 22, 2015

      For those of you with a deep and abiding love of this series, it was filmed at Ardverikie Castle in Scotland.

This is how it might look today.

How you might stay at  the Ardverikie Estate

 These are posts to this blog which I wrote later than this first one which relate in some way to the Monarch of the Glen series.