Loss and gain

We lost my father-in-law, Jim, this weekend. Barry lost his dad. Our kids lost their dear grandpa.

Our loss is heaven’s gain.

I don’t have much inclination to write. It’s a quiet time.

But I am reflecting on loss and gain this morning.

We’re gaining light here in our Upper Peninsula woods. Some days the shadows linger long and defined, sweeping the landscape.

Long shadows can seemingly settle into our hearts for times in life, especially when a loved one dies.

But sunlight dawdles longer each evening, spreading its wings of light toward spring landscapes, even while the snow slowly melts.

Chickadees, nuthatches, finches, grosbeaks and blue jays dance on the snow seeking seeds from the feeder. Their wings sometimes flutter into perfect angels on the snow.

Ice reveals itself, shatters, melts, shifts into cracked patterns. Like our hearts, ice transforms time and time again.

Nothing stays the same.

Yesterday–or was it the day before?–the morning sun exploded above the horizon on Keweenaw Bay in orange, purple and yellow glory. The dark branches met the light in the endless yin/yang dance of life.

Loss and gain bow and curtsy, twirl and stand still, hug and let go.

Goodbye for now, dear Jim, dear father, dear grandfather.

You were so loved. Thanks for sharing your smile, your enthusiasm and your love with us.

Jim and Marion (Easter, about 25 years ago)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in March 2022 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to Loss and gain

  1. awiahdavid20 says:

    Am so sorry for your lost and I pray the angels will receive him in heaven and stay blessed

  2. debyemm says:

    My first close experience of losing a loved one, not biologically related to me, was my father-in-law. It profoundly changed my perspectives on dying. The love and affection could not have been stronger, had I been born into that family. HUGS.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I have marveled how close you & your in-laws were. How lucky you were to have them welcome you into their hearts that way. My in-laws did the same. I’ve always said it would be impossible to have better in-laws. Thank you.

  3. Losing a loved one is always difficult, even when it’s expected. My heart goes out to you and your family, Kathy. May your memories of the happy times with your father-in-law bring you some healing and comfort. *hugs*

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Barbara. We are starting to remember those happy times now. It’s been such a rushed and challenging month since he fell and was diagnosed. Now is the time to notice all the memories we’ve weaved together over the years.

  4. lisaspiral says:

    So sorry for your loss. So glad to hear you’re taking in the quiet. The beauty of your photos is my gain, thank you for sharing.

  5. Carol says:

    Hugs for you in this difficult time. How precious your recent visit was, and how wonderful you were able to have that time together, building more memories.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, we were so lucky to have that nice visit in December. At the time we didn’t even know that he–most probably–was already ill. It was a precious time indeed. Thank you for the love.

  6. bearbear45 says:

    Sorry for your loss ma’am.🌹
    And also for your family. We lost a few people in our family since Christmas, and yet another is terminal in the ICU right now. I call it perpetual grief. As it seems I have been grieving since I lost my grandfather when I was 18. That is over 25 years now.
    It is not easy, but we have the memories, spirit and love to hold onto. I love your photos, and tribute.
    My grandparents had a cabin in the Keweenaw peninsula long ago. And I remember the beautiful Fall scenery. Precious memories.
    May peace be with you and your family.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your kind comment, bearbear. I am so sorry that you’ve lost so many people in your family in such a short time. The grief from that must feel overwhelming. I like how you point to what we have to hold onto. So wonderful that you have sweet memories of the Keweenaw Peninsula with your grandparents–was this the same grandpa you lost at such a tender age? Appreciating your sweet sympathy.

      • bearbear45 says:

        You’re welcome🌹
        Yes. It was the same grandpa. He was a very good man. He spoke many languages, and was Finnish-Sami. My grandmother was also Sami, Michigan born. I’ve met many people in my life, but none compare to the spirit and kindness they carried. Now I strive for all of their qualities in myself, as I am a grandmother also. I spend a lot of time outside and in the garden. And plant as many roses and flowers as I can. My daughter asked me yesterday if I was done ordering roses, or if I would keep adding each year. I know one day I will be gone, but someone else will love and enjoy them. So, I will always make room for adding more joy. It is all we have, and all that I need. I’m not materialistic. Life continues to bloom forward. And in these uneasy times, that is where I feel most grounded. Holding onto the simple things. And really enjoying those moments. Sunsets, the birds at the feeders, holding my granddaughter and loving her smile, and sharing what we grow in the garden. There are times I need to be alone and quiet. But that is how I refuel my battery. Along with hiking. Amazingly, I am up and almost ready to go this a.m., even without the coffee I gave up a few weeks ago. It was a little bit of a challenge, but I did it so far, and seem to be sleeping somewhat better. I think I am rambling on now, but I’ve enjoyed taking the time to respond to you. The reason I started reading some of your posts originally was your title Lake Superior Spirit. I’ve been missing that, being a Yooper when I was younger for five years. You display that spirit in your writings, and I enjoy that along with your photos. And remember all of the snow!!! Just thought I would share that with you, and I hope that brings you a smile today.🦋
        Happy Spring🐦🌷 There is still joy in each day.

        • Kathy says:

          I really think you should write a blog! I loved reading the stories you told here. You did bring a big smile (during a sad time when my husband was writing his dad’s obituary). I so agree with you that there is joy in each day. We just need to notice where it surrounds us. ❤ Thanks again for sharing of yourself.

  7. Susan D. Durham says:

    Love and healing hugs to everyone, family and friends of Jim. Your pictures and words so well capture the shadows and light that make up our loved ones’ passing. There is a universal ache when we hear of people we love losing someone. Thank you for sharing, dear friend.

    • Kathy says:

      Hey, Susan…thank you. It’s hard to write a post like this that touches on both the personal grief and our universal connection. But the pictures from the last week kind of danced it together, right? Feeling your love. Sigh… ❤

  8. pickblackberries says:

    My heart breaks for you and Barry. My prayers are with you.

  9. leelah saachi says:

    Peace be with the two of you, dear Kathy – and thank God their Love for you does not go anywhere

  10. john k says:

    May God comfort all of you in this time of loss. You have my sincere condolences.

  11. Val Boyko says:

    My hearts goes out to you and the family. May the memories bring love and peace in time. Sending you a gentle hug. Enjoy the changes in nature 💕🙏💕

  12. P. J. Grath says:

    May his memory be a blessing forever.

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, thank you. I keep thinking of what you’re going through right now and how you’re sharing beautiful memories of your guy. ❤️

  13. Anna says:

    Beautiful and loving post. The ice photo and the meditation on how our hearts are always transforming is lovely. Sending light and love to you and your family.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Anna. Thank you so much for your kind words. It felt healing to write the blogs and show nature’s transformational power. Feeling the light and love coming our way.

  14. Oh, Kathy, I’m sorry for the loss of your father-in-law! My condolences to you, Barry, and all who loved him

  15. jeffstroud says:

    Sending (((Hugs & Healing)))

  16. Joanne says:

    Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family, Kathy. I know – I really know – what you are going through, with being in exactly the same place as you are now also. We have the funeral for my father-in-law, John, tomorrow.
    Such sad losses. Heaven has just gained two very dearly loved men. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, it is strange (but synchronistic) that we are sharing the death of our father-in-laws at the same time. Sad losses indeed. I hope the funeral is healing for all who attend. We will just be having a small private gathering with family on a later date. ((hugs and blessings to you))

  17. Bertha says:

    Kathy, you have such talent in conveying the thoughts you and Barry are feeling with nature. It touches the heart of all those who have traveled similar paths.

  18. A beautiful post narrating the joy of living and loving despite the fact that there is loss because of living and loving. Blessings to your father-in-law who lived and loved well. 💜

  19. candidkay says:

    I am so sorry. Keeping you all in my prayers.

  20. Mary Hickey says:

    He still is loved, Kathy. I’ve never stopped loving any of those who’ve left my life; I’ve only stopped being able to tell them.

  21. dawnkinster says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I can see the resemblance between him and your Barry. It’s a huge loss for you both, and for your children and the rest of his family as well. Memories help, but it still hurts. Sending hugs to you all.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much, Dawn. It’s been quite a month, and we are just glad that his suffering is over. I think Barry’s dad was a combination of both Barry and his brother–but they all had the same mischievous look on their face sometimes. Identical. Appreciating the hugs. ❤

  22. Roger Hollar says:




    Praying such an epitaph be your remembrance.

  23. Ally Bean says:

    My condolences, Kathy. You knew it was coming but it doesn’t make it any easier, does it?

    • Kathy says:

      Ally Bean, it’s the oddest thing. You know it’s coming, you don’t want your loved ones to suffer anymore–but it’s still hard. Thank you. ❤

  24. Debbie says:

    Kathy, please accept my sympathy on the loss of your father-in-law. His memory will live on in his family and friends, though the transition from life to death rarely is an easy one. One day, you’ll be able to focus on the good times, the lessons he taught, the love he shared; right now, I know your hearts ache. Hugs from Central Illinois.

    • Kathy says:

      Debbie, thank you for your kind words and recognizing the heart ache that comes from losing a beloved family member. You are so right that the good memories will live on. When I think of my own dad (who died six years ago) I am filled with love and joy for everything he shared with us. Thank you for your hugs, they are much appreciated.

  25. Christie says:

    Kathy, so sorry to hear about Barry’s father, my thoughts are with you two and the entire family. So glad you were able to make your recent trip. Treasure the memories. This getting older and losing those who we have treasured for years is just so difficult. Hugs…

    • Kathy says:

      Christie, you are sure right about that. You had to say goodbye to your own parents too soon… Thank you for your thoughts and compassion–they really mean a lot to us.

  26. Dale says:

    First off, my deepest condolences to you and your family.
    It makes it all the more special that you managed to go visit him that last time. Knowing what lies ahead does not make it easier or remove the pain.

  27. Gale Marion says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love your writing technique. Such a lovely tribute to a man loved so much. May he Rest In Peace.

  28. Thank you for sharing your feelings at this sad time. Also love the beautiful photos of spring emerging from winter. May your hearts be refreshed as they heal.

  29. Ron Kevern says:

    One of my favorite administrators at Rochester. I have been trying to find him for a long time. I am so sorry to learn of his passing.

    • Kathy says:

      Ron, thank you—both Barry and Craig remember you and appreciate your thoughts. I am sure he would have liked to talk with you in recent years, as he looked back on his days in Rochester with much fondness.

  30. Jan Bowden says:

    Jim had a special place in my heart.
    He hired me at Rochester High in 1974.
    He was a great mentor and colleague.
    I am forever grateful for his kindness and leadership.
    I am sure he will be missed.

    • Kathy says:

      Jan, we all really appreciate you reaching out and sharing these beautiful thoughts. It means a lot that some of his colleagues have said such kind things about him. A lovely tribute.

  31. Sorry for your loss. It changes one’s perspective on everything and brings introspection. Prayers and peace for you and your family.

  32. Reggie says:

    Awww, Kathy…. Hugs… I don’t have words. May you be flooded with beautiful memories of his life and the times you spent together. May they bring you comfort and ease your heartache. Much love.

  33. Tilly travel says:

    So sorry to hear you sad news, no that we are sending you love and hugs

    Bright Blessings

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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