May 30th is my father’s birthday. Quite often his birthday falls on Memorial Day, which is both bittersweet and apropos. Although Beauregard lost his memory to Alzheimer’s, the man himself was unforgettable.
My family continues to struggle with grief, two years after Beau’s death. I find that it sneaks up on me. One minute I’m giddy, the next I’m sobbing. Mostly, I’m missing.
Today, I walked into Trader Joe’s where Hibiscus plants were on sale. I recalled a walk with my dad at his home in Naples, Florida, just as he was showing substantial cognitive decline, during which he repeatedly said “the Hibisci are in full bloom.”
I brought a particularly flourishing Hibisci back to my house, and placed it on the front porch with Buddha in honor of my dad’s birthday.
I looked at the complimentary pairing and thought about how Beau, a devout Christian, appreciated and respected the gamut of religions as much as he did all the flora and fauna of the world. He was a physician who believed in evolution AND divine intervention. He was an African tribal chief who drove a boat named for the Hindu God Garuda. He was a man who challenged minds and fixed them.
I miss his complexity.
I miss his powerful force in the universe.
I miss the way he said, “Gal, your ole dad sure loves you.”
But Beau is always with me. And because of him, I continue to bloom.
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Oh How I miss him too! Especially over here experiencing this area of the world, that I don’t know if he ever visited, but he certainly would have appreciated! He would have accepted and admired its complexities and contradictions, I am sure. Yesterday on a drive to Al Ain (about 70 miles from Abu Dhabi) I passed a herd (?) of camels being walked by their handler(?)…they (the camels) would stop now and then and chew on some scrub grass in the desert and then meander forth… they (the camels) seem very unassuming, not dis-connected, but their size gave them an undisputed air of confidence. I didn’t think about it then but after reading your post those gallant camels remind me of Beau…tall, taking life in around him, stopping for the occasional bite of something (anything actually! remember the dog biscuits?), and yet doing it all with a casual confidence. In the years that we spoke (or did not speak) he always illustrated this casual confidence and that always felt to me like his unconditional love for his “gal”. Today I was thinking about how I could not make it through that hymn at his memorial and I hope that one day I will so I can sing the phrase “only God and Beau can see” that I never quite got out on that day.