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Oct 31 2016

Go rest high on that mountain

Angel's Rest, Pearisburg, Virginia

Angel’s Rest, Pearisburg, Virginia

There are interruptions in life about which I’ve written before. This past week has been one of those times. I hope that the absence of my brilliant writing and wit did not cause you great amounts of stress or discomfort.

Today’s post should have been all lighthearted and fun about Halloween. It is not. As we have tried to teach our sons, there are times in life when you just do what has to be done.

My stepfather passed away a week ago yesterday. His funeral was Wednesday in Southwest Virginia.

Thus my absence for the last week.

Not to give away all of my writing secrets, but by the beginning of a week I generally have most of the posts done both here and at Historic Occasions. That was the case for last week, but I pulled the posts because they just didn’t seem appropriate. I suppose I could have written my way through the week sharing the events and the emotions but that also didn’t seem appropriate, not to mention convenient. Those other posts may resurface in the proper time.

This was the second time in my life that I have traveled home to be with my Mother as she buried a husband.

This man was my stepfather for the past 32 years, but a man I knew prior to that as Uncle.

No, it’s not weird, and not particularly southern. My father passed in 1978, his sister in 1983. Later, my mother married my father’s sister’s husband.

I’ll pause a minute lest you need to draw a diagram.

My father was the youngest of nine. Two older brothers were lost to Scarlet Fever some ten years before my father was born. Of the remaining seven siblings and their spouses, the family was very close. I grew up with my cousins feeling more like brothers and sisters. So much so that when my cousins became my stepbrother and stepsister it only seemed natural.

As I wrote on Facebook last week, my stepfather was perhaps the strongest, most stubborn, and most giving man I have ever known.

He wasn’t overly expressive with his feelings, well, not unless we got around to talking politics, which, being on different sides, most of us avoided.

But he was generous to a fault. I won’t go into the details but I remember many times that he, along with my aunt and later my mother, would bless our family and help us through difficult times. We weren’t the only ones they did that for.

Until his health required it, the man never sat still, whether it was working his regular job, butchering meat in his basement, or building a flea market business into a variety discount store, he was always working. Always strong.

In later years, and particularly since last Christmas Day, his health rapidly declined. It both challenged and frustrated him that he could no longer work as he once had.

Before last Sunday there were so many things that seemed urgent, that absolutely had to get done. They didn’t, and perhaps they seem a little less important right now. We’ll get to them.

One thing my cousins and I agree on, we’ve all said goodbye far too many times. Of my parent’s generation, only my mother remains with us.

I’m not being very eloquent here. It’s difficult to say goodbye. It’s difficult to think about going home again and him not being there.

My niece was much more eloquent in the post on her blog To My Grandfather, Who Never Read My Blog.

I’m sure my stepfather never read mine either, because we probably would have argued about it, particularly when I was writing the political stuff.

Wednesday he was laid to rest in the cemetery in our small town. His grave is on the hillside with his parents, my father, and most of my aunts and uncles. The mountain in the picture above towers over the town and the cemetery.

That’s our Angel’s Rest mountain. His home for the past 60 or more years was at the foot of that mountain.

Coincidentally, or not since I don’t believe in coincidence, when I went searching for that picture I found that one of the last times I had used it was on a post about my own father’s passing.

While he’s not resting high on that mountain and rests in the shadow, the mountains were always a special place to him, and to me.

We already miss him.


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2 comments

  1. Teresa Miller

    Beautiful, Mike…It’s so hard, sometimes, in the moments of intense grief
    and sorrow to be grateful, but I am grateful we have had fathers who were so
    good that we do grieve.
    Teresa Miller

  2. Nancy Turner

    Well said… Goodbyes are hard. Prayers

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