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Fanning Files


December 31, 2019

By Me

My mom keeps a picture of my dad on an end table next to the chair he used to sit in. I know why it’s there. So when she looks from her chair in the direction she looked for so many years she still sees him.

Christmas Eve day I posted on FB... We lost a mother and we lost our fathers. It is different, and it can be difficult, but when we gather together with our children, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, my mom, and her great grandchildren, I see this beautifully, wonderful mob they created and feel blessed. It is all part of their story that is told each time we get together. We are not alone!

I knew Mrs. Me was going to have a difficult holiday with the recent passing of her father. It was an attempt to remind people, even though there are things that can take us into a dark corner, a sad corner, we need to also cling to the brightness that surrounds us still. Because the light is like a life-vest that can help keep us afloat in what sometimes seems like a churning ocean of tears.

We know that sadness comes, but it comes because of a light that once burned in our lives that is no longer there, and we miss it.

We also know that when a person is caught up in a moment of extreme sadness there is nothing we can do accept hold them or give them a hug. Sometimes we may be pushed away, and the only thing we can do is let them struggle through it. That’s the hardest part.

As we gathered with my family on the Saturday before Christmas, in the house I grew up in and where my brother and his wife now live, there were some very special gifts that were handed out from my mother to her grandchildren. There were dishes from the china cabinet that once belonged to my grandma Brueggen, or my grandma Fanning, given to my nieces.

It was an emotional moment that hit its’ peak when it came time for Micro Me’s gift. A clown, sewn out of Green Bay Packer material that was a gift one Christmas from my mom to my dad. It could be made to sit in almost any pose, and it sat for years in the basement living room, staring strangely at all who looked his way. It had always been my dads, and I think we all instantly felt him in the room when Micro Me pulled him from the wrapping paper.

Later that night, on the trip home to Cashton, Mrs. Me burst into tears. Through the tears she managed to choke out, “I don’t like it... it’s like she’s already saying good-bye!”

Three of our parents are gone, but my mother’s light still shines bright. I knew what it was, and it wasn’t good-bye. It was her way of saying I trust you to keep this safe. But for my wife, who everyone knows and she will admit has a bladder built too close to her eyeballs, I think it was a moment of sadness mixed with joy.

“Tomorrow is not promised”... as the saying goes. So, while I hope and expect my mother to be here for a long time yet, I find myself giving her a little bit longer hug each time I say good-bye.

My wish for everyone who is struggling with loss, whether it is recent or from a long time ago, is that they find the light through the darkness. Grab onto that life-vest that has been thrown to you, and let it keep you afloat until the dark seas calm and the sun shines down upon you.

Whether I know you or not, if there was a way for Me to reach out and hug all of you I would do it.

May the new year bring peace,

happiness and joy!

In Loving Memory of…


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