Does anyone else have a day that has special significance to them? I’m not talking about your birthday, your wedding day or the day your children were born, but a day of the year that holds special meaning because a series of significant events happened on that very day – over several years.
June 11th is my “significant day.” Now that I’m writing about it I’m not going to remember all the events that gave it such significance but I’ll mention the ones I remember. Trust me – there are more:
I graduated from high school on June 11, 1974 and my grandmother gave me this letter, which is transcribed on “All Things Kalen – Gathering Stories”. It contains the perfect blend of advice, wisdom and most importantly, the written affirmation of the unconditional love that I’d always known from her. That was 41 years ago and I still “tear-up” every time I read it.
As an interesting coincidence, my daughter graduated from high school on June 11, 2007.
On another June 11th, a good friend who had had several miscarriages and was beginning to think she’d never have a child, gave birth to her son on June 11th.
It might have been that same June 11th (it was 1984) that I was installed as a deacon at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, where my husband and I were married on August 6, 1983. It was the first time I held a leadership role in a church. I hadn’t been a Presbyterian for very long at that point in my life and it held special significance to serve in a church with people I admired and respected while my faith grew.
Significant days aren’t always happy ones. On June 11, 2000, the world lost a bright, beautiful light and loving presence – Frederick William George, III – my husband’s hero, my children’s “Papa,” and Dad to me.
Although he’d been sick for about a year with a rare lung disease that really had no explanation, Dad was in the hospital for a relatively simple procedure – removing a polyp that was discovered during a recent colonoscopy. We talked to Dad before he went in for the procedure and he expected to be home in a few days. He came through the procedure and was resting comfortably. Rick called him on Friday night to see how he was doing but Ardra said he was sleeping and we should call back the next day.
The next morning while we were out in the front yard planting what have become known as “Dad’s flowers,” Rick called the hospital to speak with Dad. I guess this was before the current level of patient privacy because after being on hold for a while, a doctor came on the line and told Rick that the staff had found Dad unresponsive and they were working to revive him. The next 24 hours are somewhat of a blur. I know Rick left for California the next day and the kids and I went a bit later since Sarah was “graduating” from elementary school.
The circumstances are not entirely clear but it seems Dad may have choked while eating. It doesn’t seem like that should happen in 2000 – especially in a hospital – but it did. Or at least, we think it did. (Now that I’ve been doing genealogy work for a while I can’t believe I haven’t checked Dad’s death certificate.)
It’s hard to believe I only knew Dad for twenty years. He was such a positive force in my life and in the lives of others. He was the glue that held his blended family together, even after his divorce from the woman whose children created that blended family. I’m grateful that Rick and I lived close to him for the twelve years we spent in Southern California.