11 June 2010

Skywatch Friday: "O! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth..."

The deadline for my book manuscript gets ever closer, and I'm just about crazy with trying to get it all done. But I will. Apologies to those whose blogs I haven't been able to visit lately--things will return to what passes for normal in my world by mid July. I hope.

Meanwhile, today, June 11, is a bittersweet day for our family; five years ago, my father, a retired Air Force and commercial airline pilot, 'slipped the surly bonds of earth', as John Magee wrote in his poem 'High Flight', after a five-year battle with Alzheimers disease. Naturally, we miss him every day, although we feel his presence around us in different ways, my mother, my sister and I. I feel even a little more elegaic than usual this year because we just said goodbye to his oldest sister with the same damn disease. So I look around at my garden full of forget-me-nots, and plant trees & shrubs in memory of people we've lost, and donate to the Alzheimer's Society, in honour of my father. And of my aunt. And many, many others.

My dad was a gardener too. As was his father, and his mother, and my mother, and her parents. As am I, and my sister. And maybe, one day, my son too. Hence the shot of the sky, one of the places Dad was most happy, and of the forget-me-nots, for this late spring Skywatch Friday. Thank you to all of you already who have left such kind, supportive notes. Your friendship across the miles sweetens even a most bitter sorrow.

31 comments:

  1. Dear Jodi, I am so very sorry. Such a very sad time for you and what a dreadful disease for your father to have experienced. But, how wonderful to go through your garden and to be reminded not only of people who are no longer with you but also of so many happy times spent in their company. My feelings are that the dead never die as long as we continue to talk about and remember them.

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  2. Hello
    A garden is a good place to remember our loved ones.

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  3. A beautiful SWF photo Jodi. I hope you are having beautiful memories of your Father working in his garden instead of the end of his life. I know ALz. is not a pretty disease. Good luck on meeting your deadline. ((Big hugs)).

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  4. It is a heart-breaking disease. My dad was a pilot in WWII, flew Lancasters. He had almost his whole crew still alive about a year and a half ago. Now there is just one other and he has alzheimers. I am touched by your description of your father and glad you carry on his love of gardening. My dad loved gardening too but now is firmly entrenched in a highrise. He goes and sits each day in a park though - one attached to the normal school his mother attended many many years ago.
    I will think of your dad today when I'm out in my garden which is completely overrun by forget-me-nots. I love them...

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  5. A lovely tribute to those who have moved on to live with our Heavely Papa. You have wonderful memories of them to take out and enjoy anytime. Have a wonderful weekend and take care.

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  6. The image of the forget-me-nots brought tears to my eyes. My condolences, Jodi, on this bittersweet day of remembrance.

    (And I know you can meet that deadline. Break a leg!)

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  7. I think that's why forget-me-nots are blue...they reflect our sadness but prompt us to remember and not forget.

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  8. Our family has been touched by Alzheimers too, Jodi -- these anniversaries are never easy. You've just inspired me to make sure I plant forget-me-knots in my little perennial bed. They're a beautiful reminder of many things in my life. I hope your day passes pleasantly. (((Jodi)))

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  9. Anniversaries of loss are so important. I am sorry to hear of your dad being taken by Alzheimer Disease... one of the hardest ways to lose a loved one. Then your Aunt too... very hard. Forget-me-nots are so lovely and a beautiful way to carpet your trees of remembrance. Your gorgeous sky photos lift us up beyond the tree tops and earth as your quote so beautifully states. Bless you dear Jodi and good luck with your work.

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  10. It is such a terrible disease, and the anniversaries are hard.

    It takes so much not just from the patient, but the families. Keep those good memories cherished in your heart, they are very special.

    So sorry to hear of your loss...

    Jen

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  11. I would have to agree that one of the previous commentors when they say a garden is a great place to remember someone. I am glad he passed on his love for gardening to you....I am such a novice at it...no green thumbs in my family...so I am envious....your pictures are glorious...I hope you spend a day filled with fond memories and happy times!

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  12. I'm glad you still feel your father's spirit around you. I was only 7 years old when my grandmother died, yet I feel her around me every day, pointing out magic wherever I happen to be.
    Cindee

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  13. Dear Jodi, I am sorry for your loss. I too lost my dad to that horrible disease. He too was a gardener. I have his pruners and carry and use them throughout the garden. hugs, Gloria

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  14. What a wonderful tribute your garden is to those you love! I was very touched!

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  15. P.S....My dream has been to take a trip to Nova Scotia! I am so excited to find your blog!

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  16. While I enjoy your sunset I also remember members of our family and recently a really good friend that we had to say goodbye to. I do hope they are enjoying our flowers as much as we do. I hope that your book will be on the best seller list.

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  17. Thinking of you and this sad anniversary. It is a nasty and heartless end. My Mother suffered this too. It broke my heart when she forgot my name.

    Sending love,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  18. That is a beautiful picture and a great tribute to your father. My grandmother spent the end of her life with Alzheimers. It's not an easy thing to watch.

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  19. Brilliant skywatch. Amazing colours.

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  20. Those are beautiful words and images to remember him by Jodi.

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  21. Dear Jodi - that sky is most beautiful, what amazing color! I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. I do admire your tradition of planting flowers, trees, or shrubs in memory of those dear to you. It is so difficult to watch those that we love suffer from such a terrible disease. Warm thoughts go out to you today...

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  22. Thanks for the beautiful sky pic. And I simply love the poem you quoted. My dad passed 25 yrs ago the same way...sorry, hon.

    I'm a "hand-me-down" gardener, too. In my case, though, my mom was the gardener. So when I see the perennials come up in my garden that she loved, I am still connected. Nature is an amazing thing. It connects us all. God is a genius!

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  23. My thoughts are with you at this bittersweet time of remembrance Jodi.

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  24. Hi Jodi,
    I just looked up what a monarch looks like when it pupates. I found a blog post, that I forgot to look at the date on. I clicked on your name from a comment you left to see if it was you, and it was.

    I am usually behind in about everything I do. There are so many blogs I love, that I just can't keep up. I like what you put for the title of your blog list.

    I want to express my sympathy as you experience another milestone in the passing of your dad. My grandmother had that, too.

    I hope your book finishing goes well. I love your photos, by the way. I find forget me nots hard to photograph.

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  25. So very sorry Jodi that you lost your father to such a horrid disease. My mom hasn't been gone very long; we all miss her every day.

    That's a stunning SWK shot and the forget-me-nots are delightfully sweet.

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  26. Memories do help. That is such a dreaded disease. Your sunset is gorgeous.

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  27. It is so sad to watch our loved ones slowly decline with age and disease. My hope is that you will let the good memories override all the pain of those last few years.

    The sunset and forget-me-not photos are a lovely tribute. I am sure you dad was very proud of his gardening daughter!

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  28. What a beautiful image you've captured in the sky photo, Jodi! It is so difficult to lose a loved one, not to mention losing them to this insidious disease. May the sentiment of this poem--so appropriate--give you some comfort.

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  29. Good luck on your manuscript dateline. This is a beautiful tribute to your dad and I'm sure he will be so proud of you. Let the fond memories remain.

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  30. I realized with my Mom's passing that one doesn't necessarily get less sad regarding the loss of a loved one - only more at home with the sadness - as if going to the grocery store and working on a deadline and missing a parent become integrated into the same emotions. Now dealing with my father's dementia (it appears to be a type of vascular dementia) - it seems as if we lose pieces of them along the way (although we are on a strange, chemically-induced roller coaster ride right now, with Aricept increasing his short term memory but not his judgement or perception of those memories). My father is a gardener too, and the fact that he remembered how to stack his tomatoes this season has made my brother and I smile. Anyway, I'm rambling - but yet, do know that there are those out in the ether that definitely understand.

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  31. Sending a hug, Jodi. Your sunset and forget-me-nots are a beautiful tribute to your father. His spirit lives on in you and your family.
    My dad passed away on June 18th, 2007. It seems appropriate that we'll celebrate fathers tomorrow.

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