Wednesday, December 15, 2021

All I Want for Christmas

 I'm sure I could post my actual list, laundry pedestals for under the washer/dryer, a wallpapered powder room, an abolishment of brown trim and fans, a painting that reminds of the PIP (Pawleys Island Patrol aka pelicans...we always had a contest how many in a row we could see); but all I really want for Christmas is something that costs so very little. 

After Dad died one of  his sailing buddies sent me a beautiful photo of him looking out into the ocean. I had never seen this picture before and it described him perfectly. Several of my family friends husbands sent me texts about memories they had with Dad, hunting or traveling, and how much they were going to miss him. Another old New Orleans friend sent me fishing pictures from the good ole days and my own Preschool Teacher sent a note and a book. The note had all of us in tears, and I almost used it as my eulogy. One of his co-workers that I have never met wrote the most beautiful tribute on facebook, about what a mentor Robin had been for him. When we had our first meeting with Reverend John Ohmer at All Souls, he began telling us a story that on his first day at work Dad asked him to lunch and what he thought was just going to be a quick sandwich was a few hours of helpful tips, a lay of the land, and comradery. These stories were a side of Dad I never got to see.

When Mom died her friends did the same. I received a letter from one of her best friends about those first years in North Carolina when Mom didn't have many friends and how strong she was. Another messaged me pictures of BB and her dressed up for a school play. Her dear Jazzercise friends even showed up the day after Dad's funeral with champagne and hugs. 

People don't realize what a profound impact gifts like this have. You could never buy me another Christmas present again and instead send me a story or photo from the lives of my parents and I would cherish it forever.  

Grief brain is a real thing, and has wiped my memory of my favorite idioms and stories and sayings my parents shared with me. I'm struggling to remember the details of so many adventures they described to me over the years. And the most heartbreaking thing is I only have two recent voicemails of Dad's and they are from the hospital. I should have learned my lesson from Mom but we talked so frequently I didn't have enough voicemails to save.

So if you are in the giving spirit this Christmas, it would mean the world to me if you would at some point in the future send a picture, or a story, or either. There just aren't words to describe what my Mother and Father were like. They were movie stars to me; hysterical, kind, compassionate and loving leading characters in a life that I could only hope to live up to.

Isabel if you are out there this was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received:


  1. How I wish I had known your parents and could give you the gift you long for! In time your own memories will come back; I can assure you they will from my own experience. I'll keep praying for you and for Beau too. Y'all have lost so much.

  2. What a sweet, sweet letter, oh man. That's amazing. Thinking of you often