I miss my mom and dad most on holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dad's presence always drew us together. His way was calm and encouraging, he never made fun or made us feel small or insignificant, instead he came alongside with a love and support not often seen. He showed up at family gatherings with his Bible and a prayer, leading by example, and drawing us in.
Sometimes I forget there are family members who never knew my dad. There are great grandchildren who never sat on his lap and listened to a story, who never heard him sing or watched him play his harmonica. They've missed out on knowing what it was like to have him wrap his arm around their shoulder or lift their name up in prayer, to have his encouragement in an endeavor, or a listening ear when discouraged.
And then there was Mom. I called her every day for probably ten years, driving my husband nuts every time the phone bill arrived. She always had time to take a phone call, to love me through tears and trials, to watch my children while I ran an errand, or to share a cup of tea and some face to face time. She left us slowly, and for a long time I didn't even realize she was slipping away... I missed her today. I missed her enthusiasm for baking pies, for the gathering of family, and for the little ones she would have taken such delight in 30 years ago.
I miss what is past and the tears sting, but I am so grateful for the years we had together, for the example my parents were to me, and for the hope that one day I can at least partially fill the gap they left behind.