365 Days…revisted

Welcome! This post has been revised from one I posted in 2009 on the anniversary of my dad’s graduation to eternity. Nothing has changed in how I feel, except that the memories and observations are richer with maturity and time. I hope you enjoy remembering him with me today.

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Was it really just a year ago that i was at your bedside saying goodbye?
the dull throaty feeling is gone when I think about you, but it’s been replaced by a shadowy soft sadness that is always there in the background, like a whisper.
    
I think it’s what’s left of the imprint you’ve left on my heart and when I think about you, it’s like a scar, the pain is gone, but I still feel it and the memory is sweetly sad.

there have been so many countless moments when I’ve wanted to talk to you,
When I wanted you to just hold my hand again and mimi…oh daddy i miss you so

With you lie all the memories of my girlhood.

My mind is filled with visions of running through the dewy grass of your fresh-cut lawn, dappled sunshine under your grapevines, watching you eat a tomato like an apple, BBQ dinners on the red and white patio stones, walking at twilight, bike rides and soft ice cream cones from the Cone & Shake Shop…

The grassy beaches of Lake Erie when we were camping, sitting around the fire…

I miss the days of you me, Jenny and the “dinghy” at Rondeau

I miss your story telling, and how we’d always miss the punch lines because you’d already be laughing so hard that we didn’t understand you…

Hearing the explosion of your Ford each morning when you started it and knowing it scared all the neighbour kids

I miss your silly songs and even your lectures about Greece.

I’m thankful that you taught me how to cook and bake all those Tuesday nights when mom was at Bible Study, and I’m thankful for the hours in the pool

That you recorded all of our Christmases, that you would turn the oldies on and dance with mom in the kitchen… that you never turned down a hug or a walk around the creek

That you insisted that every holiday should be spent with family, and that cousins were as important at brothers and sisters…and that many times friends were family.

That every time someone comes over (and the door was always open) you ask them to sit down and if they’d like something to eat or drink…and that you always have to have something to offer them, and to never hold back giving your best.

I know that you’d just love getting to know Lucas, Max and Carter more each day,
especially since I see so many glimpses of you in them, their thirst for adventure, love of being outside, their feisty “know it all-ness”, their fascination with how things work, their big laughs, sense of wonder and inability to whisper and ability to “make a deal”…

(and oh how you’d love Elaina and the other grandkids that have showed up since…)

I wish that I could thank you again and again,
for giving me such a rich childhood and for raising me right
for driving home the values of respect, to love mom and my family, hard work, integrity, loyalty, forgiveness, laughter, faithfulness… and grace

Thank you for sharing your love of history, and politics, economics, Greece and gardening…for allowing us to see you grieve losing your own parents but also for celebrating the small and big things, really well…and for never giving up…on any of us.

and if I could go back and do anything over…

I would make sure that you were as much a part of my early adulthood as you were my early years…

I’d live more like I hope I am now,
with a painful awareness that each and every day is a gift, and that I should make the most of each moment and love the people in my life because here i am, and it’s already been 365 days, and it feels like I just said goodbye yesterday…

I’ll never stop loving you, and I’ll never forget you,

I will see you again, and until then, I know that as you see me from that “great cloud of witnesses” you are full of the Glory of the One who will help me run this race with endurance.

al my love, always

Mimi


 

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This is where my kids’ attitudes come from…does anyone else see it?

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Just before he immigrated to Canada. Wasn’t he handsome?

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One of many days at Rondeau beach. I’m sure it reminded him of the shores of the Aegean Sea, where he grew up, beach days were the best days with Daddy.

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Some of my favourite memories were our trips to Greece especially here in 1997.

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Thanks to my dad, I never wondered how a woman should be treated by her husband, he loved my mom with all his heart. He welcomed Chris as a son, right from the first. Our wedding in 1998.

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With his first grandson – Lucas Christopher in 2004.

Our lives were filled with laughter and music (lot’s of Greek music too) – he loved a good party – here at my sister’s wedding.

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A Father’s Hands…

Today was a day that reminded me of a  really bad day I blogged about a few years back.  I’m not sure if it’s the full moon, or what, but I needed a reminder that I’ve had worse days and just like then, today was “handled” – once I handed it over. Today it took a trip to the dog park, but it really did turn around too. I hope you enjoy today’s post from back in 2013…
Yesterday was one of those days.
It started out ok…
Then quickly spiraled down and out of control.
The oldest boy had ATTITUDE.
The middle boy was EMOTIONAL with ATTITUDE.
The youngest boy was WHINY.
They were all fighting, running in the house, making wrong choices.
The baby was cranky…teething? diaper rash? fussy?
All of the above.
Even the dog was annoying.
That morning I’d been reminded of a few personal setbacks…
Waves of  worry, fear, doubting self, doubting God…
Feeling like the little we had, would never be enough to meet the need.
Feeling unsettled, words in my mind wearing away at the Peace
That usually keeps me calm in the midst of these storms.
Feeling pretty ugly inside and out.
So I kept losing my cool…
yelling…
threatening…
lashing out…
probably worse,
I’ve blocked it from my memory.
We were all ready for a change of pace, a change of scenery.
I remember driving to the organic farm to pick up the veggies
On the verge of tears.
At the farm, the dear farmer sensed my duress.
She made me laugh.
A moment outside of the moment.
She encouraged me like only a mama of mamas can.
We drove home in almost silence. A hymn was playing on the radio.
The quiet was needed…appreciated.
The baby had fallen asleep.
The boys were not fighting, not even talking.
I pulled into the drive.
Thinking about what to make for dinner.
Giving instructions for unloading the veggies…
The middle boy was not in the van…
 Momentary panic.
Call the farmer.
He’s there. Relief.
Drive 25 mins back there to get him.
Beat myself up most of the way.
After all…how could I not notice he wasn’t in the van?!
Sigh…
I really felt like crying on the way home again.
Decided, that the day was basically lost now
A lost day…
When I should have loved my kids better…
When I should have been gentle, and kind.
 And now it was half hour to bedtime…
No time to make dinner…
MacDonald’s it is.
At least the boys were thrilled.
I beat myself up for not providing a healthier dinner.
In the drive-thru…I had to dig into the recesses of my wallet to pay.
Tucked inside a pocket, was shoved one of these.
I haven’t seen one in years.
(for my American friends – we have dollar coins here)
For some reason, it reminded me of my dad.
How his hands hardened by work, would always offer to give me money.
When I was around 9 and first allowed to ride my bike to the corner store.
When I was 16 and driving the car and needed gas.
When I was visiting home from college and always in need of a little extra cash.
How on a day like this, he would have put his arms around me…
And the world would have felt better again.
Sometimes we’d just sit in the garden, quiet.
I thought about how much I miss those hands,
How that final goodbye felt a few short years ago…
How much I wanted my daddy at that moment.
Mercy, the tears would not stop…
I almost had to pull over the van.
Then the kindest whisper…
A reminder really.
That there was another set of hands…
Readily available…
Hands that were not only work hardened…
But pierced.
For me.
Hands, eagerly waiting for me to surrender the day
Ready to provide,
Ready to take fish and bread, and meet those needs and more.
Restoring peace, reminding me of Eternity
and how my earthly daddy lives there now, with Him.
Redeeming the day, in a moment.
Making the world feel better again.
Oh how wonderful to to fall into my Heavenly Father’s Hands
To be enveloped in His grace and mercy.
Psalm 31:14
But as for me, I trust You, oh Lord,
I say,”You are my God”
My Times are in your hand…
 
And as the day came to a close,
Kissing soft cheeks, whispering thanks
whispering “I love yous”
Watching the steady rise and fall of little bodies at rest.
Peace…I am still.
Knowing the day is saved, and a new one is at hand.
A new one, that is in His hand,
As I am.

A Father’s Hands…

Yesterday was one of those days. 
It started out ok…
Then quickly spiraled down and out of control. 
The oldest boy had ATTITUDE.
The middle boy was EMOTIONAL with ATTITUDE.
The youngest boy was WHINY.
They were all fighting, running in the house, making wrong choices.
The baby was cranky…teething? diaper rash? fussy?  
All of the above.
Even the dog was annoying.
That morning I’d been reminded of a few personal setbacks… 
Waves of  worry, fear, doubting self, doubting God…
Feeling like the little we had, would never be enough to meet the need. 
Feeling unsettled, words in my mind wearing away at the Peace
That usually keeps me calm in the midst of these storms.
Feeling pretty ugly inside and out.
So I kept losing my cool… 
yelling…
threatening…
lashing out… 
probably worse, 
I’ve blocked it from my memory.
We were all ready for a change of pace, a change of scenery.
I remember driving to the organic farm to pick up the veggies
On the verge of tears. 
At the farm, the dear farmer sensed my duress.
She made me laugh. 
A moment outside of the moment. 
She encouraged me like only a mama of mamas can.
We drove home in almost silence. A hymn was playing on the radio.
The quiet was needed…appreciated.
The baby had fallen asleep.
The boys were not fighting, not even talking.
I pulled into the drive.
Thinking about what to make for dinner.
Giving instructions for unloading the veggies…
The middle boy was not in the van…
 Momentary panic.
Call the farmer.
He’s there. Relief.
Drive 25 mins back there to get him.
Beat myself up most of the way.
Afterall…how could I not notice he wasn’t in the van?!
Sigh…
I really felt like crying on the way home again.
Decided, that the day was basically lost now
A lost day…
When I should have loved my kids better…
When I should have been gentle, and kind. 
 And now it was half hour to bedtime…
No time to make dinner…
MacDonald’s it is.
At least the boys were thrilled.
I beat myself up for not providing a healthier dinner.
In the drive-thru…I had to dig into the recesses of my wallet to pay.
Tucked inside a pocket, was shoved one of these.
I haven’t seen one in years. 
(for my American friends – we have dollar coins here)
For some reason, it reminded me of my dad.
How his hands hardened by work, would always offer to give me money.
When I was around 9 and first allowed to ride my bike to the corner store.
When I was 16 and driving the car and needed gas.
When I was visiting home from college and always in need of a little extra cash.
How on a day like this, he would have put his arms around me…
And the world would have felt better again.
Sometimes we’d just sit in the garden, quiet.
I thought about how much I miss those hands, 
How that final goodbye felt a few short years ago…
How much I wanted my daddy at that moment.
Mercy, the tears would not stop…
I almost had to pull over the van.
Then the kindest whisper…
A reminder really.
That there was another set of hands…
Readily available…
Hands that were not only work hardened…
But pierced.
For me.
Hands, eagerly waiting for me to surrender the day
Ready to provide, 
Ready to take fish and bread, and meet those needs and more.
Restoring peace, reminding me of Eternity 
and how my earthly daddy lives there now, with Him.
Redeeming the day, in a moment.
Making the world feel better again.
Oh how wonderful to to fall into my Heavenly Father’s Hands
To be enveloped in His grace and mercy.
Psalm 31:14
But as for me, I trust You, oh Lord,
I say,”You are my God”
My Times are in your hand…

And as the day came to a close, 
Kissing soft cheeks, whispering thanks
whispering “I love yous”
Watching the steady rise and fall of little bodies at rest.
Peace…I am still.
Knowing the day is saved, and a new one is at hand.
A new one, that is in His hand,
As I am.

A month of memories

February is the shortest month of the year but sometimes it feels like the longest… this year so much happened in the short few weeks of the second month…
We bade a sad farewell…
Our Great Great Aunt Fern passed away. She was a blessed 99 years old and will be sorely missed especially by our little family.
I turned 37 and found out some wonderful news that I can’t tell you about yet, but it will change everything
We celebrated love…
 

…and family
…and friends…
lots and lots of get togethers…
and finally…

My baby turned 8

Our life together in Christ is so much more full than we ever could have imagined!
Blessings,
Tammara
 

We surrounded him…

3 years ago I witnessed a life pass from time into eternity.

The memory of it has been burned into my soul, my heart, my mind.
Death would soon usher my dad into another state of being.

Having said our goodbyes, we could not leave him alone.
My sisters and I, our husbands and my mom
Surrounded his hospital bed.
His breathing was ragged.
He was still fighting to live more days on the earth.
Helpless, the time had come.
We did what we knew, we surrounded him.
We surrounded him with love.
We surrounded him with our voices, singing.
Songs of praise, of worship, of faith, hope and love.
We were timid at first, emotions overwhelming.
But as we sang, we could not help but turn our eyes
to the One who conquered death.
The noises outside the room faded away…
Our voices grew stronger…
Eventually we knew that we ourselves were “in between”,
neither here nor there.
His breathing became easier now, softer.
Perhaps his breathing matched the phrasing of the hymns we sang…
Perhaps his breath was being “caught away”
as his body became unnecessary for truly living…
Perhaps he could not tell the difference between our voices
and the voices of angels who had come to carry him over…
And then… the moment had come and gone…
and still…
We could not help but turn our eyes
to the One who conquered death.
There was no sting, and the victory was not held by death,
but by the author of Life.
Dad passed over into eternity surrounded by love,
Surrounded by the songs of heaven.
Surrounded.
I cannot speak for the others…
But I caught a glimpse of something…
something, maybe someOne that took my breath away…
I’ve never been the same…

In remembrance – May 16th, 2008.
Aristotelis Bolovinos
We love and miss you daddy Y

“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If i make my bed in hell, behold You are there,
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me…
…Lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ps 139:8-10; 24b

Dear Daddy

Hey dad, it’s been two years and yes, missing you is not as painful as it used to be, but every so often I have a day, or a moment when I really miss you. Today was one of those days. I wouldn’t let myself think about it until now, when I’m sitting in my bed getting ready to turn in for the night. I wouldn’t let my thoughts wander the way I”m letting them wander now. I wouldn’t let myself think about all the things I miss.

Things like being able to pick up the phone to call you just to say hi and hear you say, “Mimi!” like hearing my voice was the best thing to happen to you all day, and then at the end of the conversation to hear your “I love you” – because I didn’t really realize all those years how precious it would be to me – knowing that you were one of few people who truly knew me for my best and worst and really really loved me just the way I am. I miss that a lot.
I also miss being able to think things through with your perspective, even if it was just you being silly or telling me I was too serious. I don’t have a lot of people who still tell me that. I miss hearing your laugh, especially when you could barely control it (like whenever you’d watch The Three Stooges) – and I miss your lectures on the most important things in life – family, politics, food, history (Greek) and economics, especially the family lectures.
I wish you could be here to watch my boys growing up, I just know you’d love their antics. I know you’d have a special connection with Lucas – he’s so bossy, and loud and funny…and tender hearted. But of course you’d love Max for his cute, sneaky, silly, joke playing ways – and he’s really smart about things. They all love to figure out how things work and try to make them better…like you did. You had just met Carter and he mostly just slept, but now as he’s ahoqinf his personality more every day. I just know you’d have fun with him, he loves to help and is very intelligent – he loves to copy his big brothers, and he’s extremely independent, stubborn and also loud – but he’s always ready with a smile and can’t resist a hug or kiss either. They all love to be outside, and they love to get their hands dirty (and every other body part it seems). they love water, and Lucas and Max are playing soccer this year, and Lucas towers over the rest of his team, but at least he shares the ball now. I miss that they won’t know you on this side of eternity. That like me, they’ll go through most of their life without their grandpa (Papoo). The older I get the more I treasure what the older generation is meant to be to the family. You definitely would have been a blessing in countless ways.
I miss your dinners, going for walks with you, listening to music with you and especially just sitting with you. There’s so much I’d pay attention to now, things I took for granted. Like how hospitable you were, family history I may never hear now, just your way with us, with mom, with people… I missed a lot of chances to spend time with you, because I always thought that we’d have more time later…but the minutes kept whizzing by, and one day they were all used up. Later was never available. It’s a pretty painful lesson for me, but a life changing one. To make the most of NOW. To live life fully, to enjoy my kids, my family, my forever friends… to let go of the hurts, the frustrations, the pains – and to love.
Daddy, I’ve got it really good. You did such an amazing job in helping raise us girls – your biggest wish dad – that’d we’d always be friends and love each other, and not let fighting and other things get in the way – that wish came to pass. We really have a special relationship with each other, and with mom. Each of them unique, but precious. I love them with this “wow” love. That’s the best I can explain it and I know it’s returned. Thank you for that.
Anyways dad, I know you are up there in the Throne Room once in awhile, and that you can see us – that you are a witness in that Great Cloud. I know it because Jesus showed me once when I was worshiping, and my heart was broken just after you had passed. Anyways, that really helps me, and now I know you are getting a kick out of the escapades of my boys. I know that now your joy is full and I know that you are one with Jesus, and that we will meet again. That comforts me on days like today – days that are a mixture of sadness, regret, gratitude and grace. Anyways, say hi to so many of the saints I’d love to meet for me, and especially my yaya and papoo, and grandpa too. I miss you still,
love,
Mimi

365 days

was it really just a year ago that i was at your bedside saying goodbye?
the dull throaty feeling is gone when I think about you, but it’s been replaced by a shadowy soft sadness that is always there in the background, like a whisper.
    
I think it’s what’s left of the imprint you’ve left on my heart and when I think about you, it’s like a scar, the pain is gone, but I still feel it and the memory is sweetly sad.

there have been so many countless moments when I’ve wanted to talk to you,
When I wanted you to just hold my hand again and mimi…oh daddy i miss you so

With you lie all the memories of my girlhood.

my memory is filled with visions of running through the dewy grass of your fresh cut lawn, dappled sunshine under your grapevines, watching you eat a tomato like an apple, bbq dinners on the red and white patio, walking at twilight,
bike rides and soft icecream cones,

the grassy beaches of Lake Erie when we were camping
sitting around the fire
I miss your story telling, and how we’d always miss the punch lines because you’d already be laughing so hard that we didn’t understand you…
I miss the days of you me, Jenny and the “dinggy” at Rondeau
Hearing the explosion of your Ford each morning when you started it and knowing it scared all the neighbour kids
I miss your silly songs and even your lectures about Greece

I know that you’d just love getting to know Lucas, Max and Carter more each day,
especially since I see so many glimpses of you in them

I wish that I could still thank you again and again,
for giving me such a rich childhood and for raising me right
for driving home the values of respect, to love mom and my family, hard work, integrity, loyalty, forgiveness, laughter, faithfulness… and grace
and if I could go back and do anything over…

I would make sure that you were as much a part of my early adulthood as you were my early years

I’d live more like I hope I am now,
with a painful awareness that each and every day is a gift, and that I should make the most of each moment and love the people in my life because here i am, and it’s already been 365 days, and it feels like I just said goodbye yesterday…

I’ll never stop loving you, and I’ll never forget you,

I will see you again, and until then, I know that as you see me from that “great cloud of witnesses” you are full of the Glory of the One who will help me run this race with endurance.

love, mimi