Roots, Relationships, and a Seagull

The parsley and the basil roots pant for water as they bake in their biodegradable pots.

I meant to sink them deep long before this.

And the geranium 6-pack baskets, bought over a month ago when spring exploded early?

Once luscious red, now with browned heads.


I need perennials. Plants that thrive and spread on neglect and lack of touch-me love.

But that’s not so with relationships.

Relationships need time and attention and lots of touch-me love. Or they’ll shrivel up and die.

But when we die to self and our own agenda, when we sacrifice our basil, relationships bloom.

So the plants will have to hang on a bit longer (or not) because I’m heading north to where my roots run deep. I’m going home for Father’s Day. Where we’ll bake in the heat at a small-town air show.

It’s the memory-making small things that demand attention now.

Those what-if-this-is-the-last-time moments.

He just turned 85 and has had two traumatic brain bleeds in the last year (one requiring surgery), and even now has two small ones discovered on a followup scan. Our brains become more fragile as we age, the doctor says, and it doesn’t take much–even a hard cough or sneeze–to trigger one.

I wonder how many of us could be walking around while we ooze a little.

But the reality is every moment is the last moment.

Each one is one-and-only, a last-one-forever.

He was here yesterday, too, and they had to park way down and use the shuttle. But the shuttle bounced and jostled over ruts and bumps, and we want to protect his head (and I think I’d like to protect mine, too), so Sissy is assertive about parking close and avoiding that ride.

We carry chairs a short distance and turn our eyes to the sky.

My dad would have loved to fly a plane, but his congenital nystagmus kept him out of every service but the Civil Air Patrol.

Life bleeds disappointments, and I ache for him. For that and for how he’s always wanted to go to Alaska and Australia and how unlikely it is that those trips will happen. I grieve for his newly widower state, and I think of him during those last hours as I stood in the room’s doorway and watched him stroke my unconscious mom’s arm with one hand and gently cup her neck with the other. And how he held out hope until the very end. And how he emailed me the morning of what would have been their 65th anniversary that the first thing he planned to do was go to the cemetery.

I think of a God who stretched the skies and suspended this sphere into nothingness and how he cups us in our disappointments.

Of how hope never disappoints.

Of how His love never quits.

A few years ago, my mom and sister surprised Dad with a ride in a B-something bomber. And today we plan to take a short helicopter ride. But right now we crane our necks upward to marvel at loops and dips and dives, at spiraled colors and at love written in the sky.

And I didn’t realize I’d snagged the seagull until later, looking strangely like a dove of peace flying straight into the heart.


 Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory! ~Psalm 57:5 (Message)



    • Sandra says

      That’s my niece, my Sissy’s girl. They could only take three of us up. And Sissy made the sacrifice.

    • Sandra says

      That would be awesome, CaryJo. Maybe we could hang out under parachutes. What do you think?

    • Sandra says

      And they tick by so. fast. Love YOU.

      But what moments do we miss by sleeping? 😉

  1. says

    Oh Sandy I know that “what if this is the last time.” I know it on every special day and on the days that are just ordinary. I hold each one tenderly, trying desperately to cherish each moment. We are blessed to still have them, but it is so filled with bitter/sweet. How thankful I am for Jesus.
    This is so beautifully, sensitively written. You are a star!
    Linda recently posted..Jesus at the VA

    • Sandra says

      You are a gift, my sweet roomie. Thankful for Jesus. Thankful for you. He introduced us. :)

  2. Kathy says

    What a touching tribute to your Dad that you shared. I know you need the time for this precious relationship to have the spiritual watering that will strengthen your ties. Your photos are so dramatic of the planes and then the gulls. We were meant to soar like these two as we touch our spirit and contact the living Lord. Thanks for this great pictorial message.

    • Sandra says

      It was a beautiful day, beautiful sky that held beautiful messages of love and risk and dreaming. Thank you, Kathy.

  3. says

    What gorgeous photos and beautiful tribute to your father. I still have my dad here, too, but he has Alzheimer’s and we don’t know how long it will be before he no longer knows who we are. I think watching our parents age is one of the hardest experiences we go through.
    Give your dad a hug for me!
    Blessings, Sandy!
    Martha Orlando recently posted.."Gimme Shelter"

    • Sandra says

      Alzheimer’s is such a thief. It steals from the person and from everyone around him/her. Those who care for those who suffer major in sacrificial love. Blessings to you and your dad, Martha.

  4. says

    Sandra, love this!! We must take each second by the hand and run with it!!
    Hey, I’m linking to you this weekend :) (found you at Jen’s)