Grief and grief healing.

He completed his earthly journey 5 years ago. But this isn’t about his death, this is about the life that he lived so very well.

My dad, or as the rest of the world knew him, Art Raith entered the world in November of 1942. Over the years I’ve heard many stories of his exploits as he was growing up, mostly good, always enthusiastic.

I think if I had to use one word to describe him, that might be it. My dad had enthusiasm about just about everything.

Many memories have been surfacing recently, mostly silly or fun times. Considering these memories is a very important part of grief healing.

Here are a few. He would come home from work with a fist full of kites in early March. Completely determined that whether or not there was snow on the ground, March was the time of year for flying kites. He would put them together with incredible excitement while my mom, could always be counted on to find fabric to make the perfect tail.

After, we would all head over to the neighborhood park to get these things in the air. So funny to watch this great big man run across the grass holding onto the kite while yelling at one of us to ‘give it more line!’. Oh my gosh, it was fabulous! Inevitably at least one kite would wind up in a tree, but that too was part of the fun.

Remembering him setting up a bale of hay in the basement when we got bows and arrows for Christmas so that we wouldn’t have to go outside in the cold right away.

Watching him with my own boys years later. Oh my gosh, it made me crazy sometimes! My boys could come in the house carrying a partially eaten sandwich and their Grandpa would simply pretend there was nothing in their hand. He would begin by asking them if their mom had fed them anything that day, or would they like for him to make them something special. You can guess what their enthusiastic response was each time.

We argued just like all families. He scolded or yelled, and boy, he knew the most impressive curse words. He controlled the television, sports were on endlessly.

My Pop was always interested in what each of us was thinking, doing, and planning and he was more than happy to share his opinions. Oh boy, did he have opinions!

One of his favorite things to do was to cook, and lucky for us, he was pretty amazing. I bet all of us have a favorite recipe or two. I easily recall the endlessly long games of Monopoly… what I wouldn’t give to play another game today. The long hours spent in the yard, doing nothing at all. Long and short, we all knew that we were loved. Without question. You knew you were loved.

So today, my heart is full. Gratitude and love have filled in all of the corners. And I’m remembering Pop. The picture that most often comes to mind for me is the one that I have shared above.  I swear he looks like a 6’1″ leprechaun. Pretty much perfect.

Perhaps a favorite is my parents dancing at my wedding. So many years ago.

Today, I’m hoping that you take a few moments to think about someone you love, whether they are still with you on this planet or in spirit.

I hope that as you do, you experience a lifting of grief, some gentle grief healing.

Feel that love, go ahead and share it with others. There’s really nothing better. <3

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