I've not meant to disappear from my blog. I miss writing here, but the past several weeks have been a rather long slog of stress and exhaustion on so many levels.
In the midst of all that, however, there has been blessing. Lots of it. So much of it that I should probably do a big gratitude post (which I'm way overdue to write anyway). But for now I just have to share one lovely thing.
My dad finished laying the bricks on the back patio today. This is at my parents' home in Virginia, the house where I grew up. They've always had a small red brick patio. A few years ago they had to have some work done on their sewage lines or something and a lot of the patio had to be dug up. My dad, always the craftsman and hard worker, set out to lay the bricks back himself. He was in the midst of the project in April 2010 when he went into the hospital with congestive heart failure.
It's strange sometimes how something can become so symbolic. For my dad, that patio seemed to represent something big that was left undone. As he lay in the hospital, very ill (with doctors telling us he might not live more than another couple of months) he fretted about the patio. He wanted to finish it. It became both a struggle in his mind (you could see that sometimes) and also a tangible project that he needed to hold onto with both hands as he determined to get better.
All during the following months -- eighteen of them -- as mom has lovingly cared for dad and as dad has astounded us all by his amazing recovery, dad has worked on the patio. A little at a time. Brick by brick. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. Longer if he could manage it, sometimes driving my mother crazy because he would stay out too long and his blood pressure would drop through the floor. As he began to regain some strength, he began to do other things too, like paint my mom's portrait. (He really is amazing.) But he was determined to get that patio done.
Today Mom emailed all of her children with the news. The last brick was laid, she said. And she called it a doxology moment. Indeed. I felt like singing the doxology. So I did.
I'm so proud of my daddy I could burst. I'm proud of my mom too, who has had to learn a whole new way of encouraging and caretaking in these months.
It hurts my heart a little bit to think that we will not likely make it down to Virginia for thanksgiving this year -- our usual annual trek is likely to be off because of our continuing financial stress. I would so love to see that patio. But mostly I want to hug my dad and mom while seeing that patio! Sometimes my homesickness for them and for that little back yard in Virginia just grows acute.
But heartaches aside, today I am just smiling. Because my dad did it. Brick by brick.