Father’s Day without a father 

My dad and me -1963

This will be my first Father’s Day without my father. I’m not sure how it will feel tomorrow when the actual day happens. Right now it just feels like Father’s Day is tomorrow. I dont have dread. I’m sure tomorrow will bring some emotion though. Just writing about him still brings tears. 

In the recent past Fathers Days have been about my husband really. I would prepare the day around him and sometimes his dad if we made a visit to see them or if I had my in-laws for dinner. 

My dad lived far away in Florida. So we often weren’t together on Fathers Day. So I usually would send him a card or small gift and then call him. We would  chat for a bit and then go on with our day. My dad didn’t like a lot of emotional declarations and he hated goodbyes. 

We did have a Fathers Day at the beach during a reunion weekend maybe six years ago now. I loved that day because we were all together- my brother and his family and my dad. I loved that the kids got him little gifts. I can’t recall now what they were. 

Father’s Day 2011

For the life of me I can’t recall a Fathers Day from when I was young. Though I’m sure we celebrated. Maybe we just left my dad alone on those days. Gave him time to himself. He would have liked that. 

I miss my dad a lot. The initial sting of grief has abated mostly. I get those times where it really dawns on me that he’s gone and I get that gut punch. I say “dammit dad your really freaking gone!” Then the pain fades.

 I still can’t listen to his voicemails  saved to my cellphone -some from his last days. The rawness of the loss is still under the skin. I feel it as I write this. 

I still have boxes of pictures and some clothing items to deal with. They stay hidden in my storage room. Eventually I will know when I will be able to handle looking through those things. I don’t know when it will be but I do know it’s not now. 

Navigating through the grief of parental loss is different from other losses I’ve had. It’s more profound or deep. 

Losing my grandmother was the first loss I had years ago. She was my best friend. And I miss her still. That loss was my most profound until I lost my dad and that felt like someone ripped a part of me off. It hurt physically as have other losses but this was so much more painful. My body just hurt. Part of that was because my dads death was sudden. I had no time to prepare my mind that he was leaving. It just happened. Poof. I told you he didn’t like goodbyes. 

That’s the part that still gets me. The suddenness. A huge presence   here and then gone. Like the air being sucked out of the room. The emptiness and feeling of being abandoned was something I hadn’t expected. But he and my mother are people I have never not known. So the loss of that is really like losing a part of yourself. And it hurts for a while. 

But the grief has ebbed. I miss my dad. We had a complicated relationship. At times we were mad at eachother. Or at times one of us was mad at the other. Seemingly we were very different but really a lot alike. But I didnt see it until he was gone. 

I know we were in a good place when he died and for that I’m grateful. But I sure wish I could chat with him. There aren’t too many people like my dad and maybe that’s good. He was one of a kind. He made people laugh and he made people cry. He was far from perfect. But he was my dad and I loved him.  

So tomorrow Fathers Day will be about my husband – he already got his gift – a gas grill for our beach cottage- but it will also be about our dads.  Kevins and mine. This is Kevin’s second Fathers Day without his dad. 

Kevin on the right with his dad and eldest brother. Taken a few years ago.

So we will go to the cemetery where “part” of my dad is buried next to his second wife. I have some of his remains here at home in Maryland -they are to be spread somewhere but I don’t know where yet -another thing I’m not ready to deal with.   

After the cemetery we will go to the assisted living home where my mother-in-law lives. She has my father-in-laws remains in an urn next to her bed. Those will be buried with her when she leaves us. They were together for 68 years – but really they will be together forever. 

We will spend some time visiting with my mother-in-law. Some relatives that Kevin hasn’t met before are making a trek to see my mother-in-law- we hope to catch them during their visit. 

It’s important to honor those who are gone but it will be good to embrace the family who are alive. I think that will take the sting out of the day for me. 

For my husband -he doesn’t have huge expectations that my teens will do anything for him. A hug is good enough for him. I love that about him.  If we are lucky maybe we can get everyone in the same room for a meal. One to honor the dads we have known and the ones still here. The ones we miss and the ones we can still hug. 

Do I need to caption this?

I think it will be a day of mixed emotions as so many days are. 

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads reading this and many blessings to those who have lost their dads. 

Meet Daisy (and duke)

Meet Daisy. She is my new beach cruiser.  When we bought our beach cottage this past spring I knew I wanted a bike. But I never really felt like I would be able to ride again because of the issues with the nerve damage on the right side of my body.  I kept telling Kevin we needed to wait to look at bikes until I felt better. The thing is I don’t know if this is as better as I am going until we do the next procedure which may be fat grafting. 

My arm and side tends to get all “burny” and achy feeling when I overdo. Ice packs are my friends. As are heading pads it depends on the moment. And I don’t know what overdo is. It varies -so I hold back on the things -like getting a bike. 

The other day kevin saw an older neighbor in our new beach neighborhoood  (we are like the babies in this neighborhood I am discovering !) and she was riding a three wheel bike. Kevin thought maybe I could try one of those to see if I could ride easily using just one arm. I thought -three wheels!? That’s a tricycle – but ok why not. I need to be open minded because I have a disability now and I want to adapt as best I can to be able to live life the best I can. So we planned to just go look at trikes. 

And if you are looking at the picture Daisy isn’t a trike. She’s a bike! Pretty as can be. 

We stopped at a bike store on route 1 as they were getting ready to close. We had to have our beach time and didn’t plan the timing too well but we lucked out and found an accommodating  store even though it was just about closing time. 

Two beautiful young woman were getting ready to take all the bikes set up in from t of the store inside. I could tell immediately they were Russian. The shore gets many young people that come over to work the summer shifts. I wanted to start my whole convo about how my kids are from Kazakhstan blah blah but I didn’t bc they were closing.  I don’t have those convos anymore now that my kids are older bc they are often with me and I think it’s their story to tell now. And they stay mute. But once in a while if they aren’t around I like to tell it but I had a bike to try so I stayed quiet. 

The manager of the shop a thirty something guy with a beard told us he didn’t have trikes at this location -bummer. I could tell he didn’t like the trikes. Why did I know this? Because he basically said so. I guess I wasnt too keen on them either  especially after he said how much space they took up in his small shop. I didn’t want big and heavy – having a bad arm doesn’t bode well for having to maneuver a big bike. 

I explained my plight – show me a cruiser with big long handle bars so I don’t have to reach far. And he did! There was an entire fleet of bikes I could choose from and I saw the yellow green cruiser with the white seat and I asked them to pull that one out. 

I had a long light sweater on over my bathing suit which I didn’t take off when I got on the bike -I was too excited -so I just held it up with my hands as I rode.  It must have made a pretty picture! 

The seat was so comfortable and it was so easy to peddle. I rode around the lot laughing and almost crying because the feeling of freedom was so immense. I can’t explain well but after being so sidlelined for so long the feeling of moving on the bike was amazing. It isn’t a horse but it’s something. 

Kevin turned to the manager and said “I will need a bike for me. She will be taking that one.”

I laughed and rode around and around. 

And Kevin bought Duke. Kevin is not sure about naming his bike but he’ll go with it. He is just that way. 

I love Daisy. And now she has Duke to spend her time with. He’s a good looking bike. A cruiser but manly in his build. 

We rode all over the neighborhood the first night. I was sore the next day and my arm hurt but I likely used it more than I should.  I can easily ride here with one arm.  My left arm is not my dominate so asking it to do more is awkward for me. The right arm wants to jump in and help. I’m learning my bounds. 

I sent my surgeon the photo of me with Daisy. I owe him so much thanks for getting me this far. I still have a ways to go but this is miles from where I was.  I did ask him if bikes are ok and I promised that I was not riding my horse. He responded with happiness at my ability to ride a bike and said bikes are ok. Horses not ok. 


But they will be. It’s a goal. 

But for now there is the freedom of riding Daisy. 

And for the ability to do that I’m very grateful. 


Doing the Mundane

You never appreciate doing boring laborious chores more than when you have been unable to do them for so long. For me my weekend was filled with fun everyday boring stuff and I’m so glad I was able to participate. I still had some pain but often forgot about it as I kept busy. I’m sore as heck even two days later. My muscles are still getting stronger after being laid up for so long. But I’m feeling good and I’m happy.

So let me bore you with my mundane weekend. For me it was not a bore. It was bliss. 

There was Friday night dinner out -with my mom and my hubby as my dates. 

On Saturday there was a little butterfly watching as we began to spread sand over the dirt and stone of our chicken enclosure. 

We worked. The boys shoveled over four yards of sand and since I still can’t shovel  (maybe I’ll be able to rake again someday!) I moved sand along with my feet and that proved to be a great workout. 

We had time for a little communing with the animals. 

And fixing a Rooster with bumblefoot. 

And I have to share Kevin with his new gas powered power washer. He loves it. 

And we did  a large amount of gardening. We created a lovely area. 

My work posse didn’t want their photo taken but I bribed them with ice cream. It pays to have an awesome ice cream shop minutes from our house! I am So very thankful that my two sons worked so hard all weekend with me and even did shifts at their “real” jobs.  

(Look how tall they have gotten!) 

And of course we communed some more. 

We sanded and gardened our way through the weekend. I spent it with two usually surly sixteen year olds but somehow they were gracious and hard working. Maybe they also got the brevity of the moment. I was doing normal things again. Maybe they didn’t get it. But I sure did -and as I worked I kept marveling at what a blessing it was to put my hands in dirt again and work with the animals.  This is a part of me I’ve missed -being able to do work -I couldn’t shovel at all or lift much-but I did use the hand trowel and planted some plants.  Yes I did a lot of pointing and telling people where I wanted stuff but I spread sand with my feet and tended to a hurt chicken. I groomed my horses and I sat and enjoyed being with them. There is much I can’t do still -but there is much I can do and thats the gift. And for that I’m so grateful. 

Getting crabby

When Rudy and I walked down to the bay beach near Cool Breeze Cottage the other day I never expected I would spend a half hour turning over upended horseshoe crabs. The neighbors had warned me that we might see some upside down and we might have to give them a helping hand. 

Why so many Horseshoe crabs? 

Mating season. 

The Indian River Bay which is a two minute walk from our new beach cottage happens to be a prime migrating ground for Horseshoe crab mating season. 

Who knew?

I have hoped that I would begin to learn more about coastal nature. I want to learn about the land and sea animal and plants. So Horseshoe crabs are a place to start. 

Thanks to my Alexa I found out that the Horseshoe crab average life span is thirty years. Whoa. I bet many don’t get that far but when you see a dead one on the beach you might be looking at an old crab. 

That’s often how we see these crabs- dead on the beach. They look scary. But they are actually not aggressive. They don’t have claws that would pinch a human. I guess the horn could hurt if you ran into one underwater. They are quiet and docile and when upside down on the beach pretty helpless. 

The crabs spend two to three weeks in this mating pattern. The female beaches herself and waits for the guys to show up. Sometime she has more then one Suitor. It’s a real love in.  She then stays on the beach to lay her eggs and thanks to Wikipedia I read they can lay up to 160k eggs in one sitting. 

Well excuse me..

Whoa again! But many are eaten by birds. 

The birds -another cool story. The Artic tern just happens to show up during their migration north or south ( I forget which way) and are there just in time to eat the crabs eggs which controls the crab population and gives them strength to continue their migration. They come back every year at that time. 

So cool. 

Another cools thing is the eggs are about the size of BBs. The larvae are hatched and are a fully formed little crab. 

Phot0 cred above:imgarcade.com

I sadly missed the day where there were thousands on the beach. But I did get out there to see a lot happening. It’s really awesome. 

Photo cred: wnpr.org

So back to me turning over the poor crabs who were rolled over. Normally they are supposed to be able to turn over using their long horns. But some have cracked horns. And many that I turned over were missing horns. We all have our challenges and sometimes we need a little help. 

Rudy my Golden had no desire to be near the creatures and I was glad when my daughter found me on the beach after her run. I was on a mission to turn over all the upended crabs on the few hundred feet of beach. I handed her Rudys leash and I kept I turning over the crabs and for a while returning them to the water line. Which was getting tiring when my hubby Kevin came in the scene not surprised by my work. He began to help but pointed out just flipping them over would likely be enough as the tide would come in and take out the ones that were done laying eggs. 

Good point. So I just flippped and didn’t carry them back anymore. 

It was hard for me to see those crabs just laying inert upside down. Just looking like they were giving up. Likely the tide would have turned them over but I wasn’t sure. I wanted to give them a little help. A better chance. 

I would jiggle them slightly and if their legs began to work over I’d turn them. Don’t give up buddy. 

It’s how I am- I save worms. I do. I don’t like to kill bugs. I like to save them. Though the ants that were swarming my night stand the day I got home from the shore weren’t as lucky. There were too many. Kevin has a spray. So…see ya ants. 

I digress. 

I am fascinated by this love-in of the Horseshoe crab. I will be sure to get better photos next season. I love the things I learn and this time by accident. I can’t wait to learn more about the shores of the DelMarVa peninsula. 

Thanks for letting me share a little about the Horseshoe crab with you. And if you ever see one upside down feel free to give it a little help. They won’t hurt you. 

It’s just one being helping out another. 

What and amazing world we live in. A Horseshoe Crab with some hangers on. 

Oh and they have seven eyes and much of our understanding of eyes come from sturdy Horseshoe crab eyes. 
Oh and their “blood” is used in drug research. 

Oh….and you can read more by following the links below. 

Oh…and I’m done. 🙂

A quickly video I took: 

More information than you ever need about the Horseshoe Crab. 



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