Hi, everyone. If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I haven’t been as active and responsive as normal. Quite honestly, it’s been a struggle to cope with the recent loss of my father, but I wanted to catch you all up. Thankfully, through lots of grief, I’m slowly finding my way. The processing is helping me come to terms that my dad is no longer here but is in a better place. While it’s not been easy, I’ve tried to embrace the loss as best as I can.
In conducting research on grief, I’ve come to realize that universally, and in best case scenarios, the death of a parent is anticipated by family members, so that there’s ample time to prepare for the loss and say goodbyes. I’ve been counting my blessings lately that I was able to do just that. My dad and I were able to share many moments together last year before his passing, and, happily, I got to say goodbye in a very special and interesting way.
Quite the avid reader and book collector, my dad owned a set of Childcraft volumes published in 1954. Originating in the late 1930s, this illustrated anthology for children was always a favorite at our house. Some of my earliest memories were pouring over the orange-bound books and my father reading them to me almost every night. I’m sure it won’t surprise many of you that my favorite book in the set was the Folk and Fairy Tales volume.
I spent many evenings listening to my dad pretend to be a frightened set of pigs escaping a wolf or a little girl vacationing in a bear’s home she ought not to be in. Particularly, he shared with me that “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was his favorite tale, so we spent ample time reading this story together. I made so many wonderful memories listening to my dad act out the voices of different characters that his readings were truly one of the highlights of my childhood.
Growing up, I never forgot those books, and years later, as an adult hoping to return to these happy childhood memories, I’d asked my parents where the collection was. Sadly, they told me they were lost in the black hole of one of our moves never to be found. Disappointed, I made a mental note that someday I would try to find these books once again.
In September of last year, as my dad reached the end of his life, he lost his ability to speak. His decline prompted an idea, as I hoped to do something special for him. In a rush job, I began scouring the internet for a set of the very same Childcraft volumes, and in a half an hour, Ebay came to my rescue. A week or so later, a 1954 collection of the Childcraft books arrived at the doorstep.
Remembering that my dad’s favorite fairy tale was “Goldilocks and Three Bears” and with tears in my eyes, I began to read the story to him while he was on his deathbed. While difficult to read, I knew my father had welcomed me into this life with fairy tales, and it seemed only right to say goodbye to him by reading the stories back.
Four days after our beloved reading time, my father passed away, and in an instant, I was shattered. Yet, through all the difficulties the grief has brought, it was these bittersweet memories that have helped bring me the much-needed comfort I didn’t know I was going to desperately need.
In saying all this, not only did I want to address some of my absence and share a cherished memory, but I also wanted to thank you all for the comments, emails, and private messages you sent the past few months. Although I can’t respond to them all, please know I read each and every one and they, too, brought me additional and much-needed comfort. I hope you’ve all been having a lovely and magical spring and thanks again for your continued support.