Saturday, July 16, 2016

Commemoration Days

Commemoration is something you do to honour the person (or people) who has (or have) died... for whatever reason.  Usually you hear the word around November 11, but someone said that word to me last night as I explained that the next day would have been my youngest daughter's 24th birthday. 

"Are you doing anything to commemorate? you know, something special?"

Frankly, I was just going to try to survive the day. But when I awoke this morning and started thinking about it, and planning my meals for the day, I began to think about my girl's favourite things... and how I could honour her in the choices I make in the little things today. 

I started with cooking a breakfast for myself that was one of her favourites: "hash" - which is hash-browned potatoes made with "real" potato (not the instant kind) - bacon (cooked chewy but not crispy), and scrambled eggs (that last bit was for me). As I ate it I recalled how she would relish every bite, rolling her eyes back with ecstasy when she took that first bite of bacon, that first taste of potato. Then how she would try to get as many potato pieces as she could fit on her fork, and give her potato-head fork a "haircut"... fill her mouth really full of the food and then act silly trying to talk through a mouth packed full. 

Arielle at Sam's - early 2012
Copyright 2012, Judy Gillis

I lingered over breakfast, savouring every morsel, each one a memory of fun times at the breakfast table either at home or at her favourite restaurant to have breakfast at: Sam's. Our family still goes there, quite frequently.  We like it there too. 

The last couple of weeks I have been living in Calgary, Alberta - I'm here for my schooling - and being this close to where she had her accident has been very emotional for me. It has made me more sensitive, and affected nearly all my interactions with people.

I find myself usually thinking about the things I miss about her - and there is a LOT of that! - and not wanting to think of the things about her that drove me crazy - her in-your-face attitude, her loudness, her impulsiveness to the point of taking unnecessary risks and not being considerate of people who were worried about her - but those things were a part of her as well. It took her quite a while for her to learn not to crowd me (she'd stand too close for my personal comfort and would NOT lower her voice) but she eventually learned that it "made Mom's skin get all snaky-feeling."

I miss her smile. I miss her laughter and her fun-ness. I miss how generous and loving she was, how she would put herself out for a friend in need.  I miss the quirk of her eyebrow ... and I miss her unshakable faith.  I miss her hugs ... most of all I miss those. 

I know that I will find other ways to make this day special.  But honestly, she left such an impact on my life that I try to "commemorate" her by living a little more like she did, by her unique life's motto, "Every snowflake counts" (see my October 24, 2013 post), every day.

It not only keeps her close, it's a wonderful way to live. 

Thanks, sweetie, for lighting the way.  

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