Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

Time does heal a heart

on December 27, 2018

This column was originally published in Agweek August 18, 2018

As my head lay on my pillow the night of Aug. 1, 2018, I began to think of how different it was the same night 14 years ago. Fourteen years ago sleep evaded me. With each time I would wake up, I would say to myself, “Is this really happening?”

In my childhood home, I tried to sleep on one end of the couch and Nathan, my fiancé at the time slept on the other end. In the early morning, my dad had passed away from a massive heart attack. He was 55. My world was numb.

Questions of, “Is this really happening? Is this really happening just three years after we had to say goodbye to our mom? Why? Why? Why?” I constantly asked myself, each time I opened my eyes that night in 2004. Fourteen years ago, my dad’s goddaughter stood watch throughout the night as I tried to find sleep. It brought comfort with the sounds and smells coming from the kitchen, just as if my dad was really there. It brought comfort when sleep evaded me and came in small spurts. Feelings of being protected, a feeling I knew I was no longer going to receive from my dad. My heart being broken and sad was how my body felt when I tried to fall asleep that night.

Exactly 14 years later, I began to fall asleep and my heart was full and happy. My husband slept next to me. Our home was filled with all of my parents’ grandchildren sleeping in the living room. The day was filled with laughter and joy. The morning brought me smiles as my daughter and nieces came running into the barn excited to start their day. The afternoon was filled with catching Everett and his cousin playing in the backyard and looking for monarch caterpillars. Evening brought each of my nieces and Vivian taking turns walking Vivian’s calf around the yard.

While 14 years ago was a day filled with devastating news, my present day ended with my nieces sitting at the counter as I made homemade pizzas telling me about their favorite pizza. They filled the air with their stories, laughter and smiles. As we cooked we needed to sample the toppings. When my niece ate one of my freshly canned pickles (telling me how mine are the best in the whole world), I smiled to myself. A couple of weeks ago when I crumbled and asked myself, “Why am I staying up till 1 a.m. to can pickles?” my niece gave me my answer. As the pizzas baked, Everett and his cousin turned the living room into their own world — hunting pterodactyls. I could hear them make a plan and hide behind the couch as they carried out their imaginary world.

So much has happened since Aug. 1, 2004. So much life has happened. Sadness and joy has happened. Disappointments and triumphs have happened. Healing and peace have been found.

Fourteen years ago I thought my world was shattered and thrown about. Today, I look at my parents’ five grandchildren. Children who have never met two of their grandparents. But a little bit of them shines through in their individual personalities, mannerisms and faces. Sleep this year on Aug. 1 came with a full, content heart.

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