In the end we remember the laughter….

Written by Ms. O

In April of this past year my father had a stroke…April 8th to be exact…a day that resounds in my soul. Time stood still for my mom…the five kids (my two brothers, two sisters, and me)…and eleven grandchildren….as we  waited. (BTW, there are seven…soon to be nine…great grandchildren….just saying.)  Since that day none of us have approached life the same.

There are a few sure things that I have always known about my dad:

  • He is a people person…as in, he talks to anyone and everyone he meets. My mother learned years ago to never allow him to “run in” the store if she was in a hurry… because my dad would find someone to talk to…no matter if he knew them or not….he simply loves to talk.
  • He was never one to sit still…always having to “do something”….go-go-go.
  • He has always been a voracious reader…going through books like I go through chocolate. My dad has never been to college, but I will say he is one of the smartest men I have ever known. He has read just about everything….and remembers it. Basically he is someone you never want to play against in Trivial Pursuit…it was like shooting fish in a barrel for him.
  • And he is what I would call a “Joe-Fix-it”…a handy man extraordinaire.

But now….as of April, 2013…life has changed…for him.

We, as his children, have always been in a quandary as to what to give my dad or my mom for their birthdays and Christmas. It usually boils down to a new book, gift cards to a restaurant, or gift cards to a home repair place, so that my dad can go buy stuff to build or repair something. It was almost like a race to see who got what first. This year none of those gifts are relevant. He is unable to read well….going out is time consuming and hard for my mom to maneuver, so it is best they stay home…and my dad has lost the ability to work with his right hand…his working hand….so we were at a loss.

During the summer, all three Shaw girls were at my parents’ home to visit and check on my dad. One of us…I don’t remember which one (personally I think it was me) …came up with the idea to have my niece take a picture of the three of us together…since it has been rare that we three are in the same place at the same time…and give it to my parents for their Christmas gift. This was all top-secret…which is not easy around my eagle eye mother (some things never change)…but mission was accomplished.

Last week came the dilemma: which picture to use? With three subjects in the picture…meaning three opinions…that is never easy. Of course we tossed out several for various reasons…many of which had to do with camera angles…and age catching up with us.

But there was one picture that captured “us” completely….and it was not the standard posed shot. We were doing what we normally do together…we were laughing. The silliness of the moment got to us, and we laughed. That moment was captured….and it struck a common chord in us. Over the years, my dad nicknamed us the Giggle Sisters….because that is what we do. We may not agree on everything…we have different houses of worship we attend…we live in different cities (one of us lives in a WHOLE different state). We have different life experiences…but we share the gift of laughter…something I feel we got from our dad….so the decision was made.

The perfect shot was not one that we planned, but it was a still-framed moment that reminded the three of us of the joys in having a sister. My brother-in-law has told my sister that he can always tell when she is talking or texting one of us…because she laughs…out loud. I find myself doing the same thing…in the quiet of my own home…because I can hear the dry humor…the sarcasm…as if they are in the same room with me. Our hope is that this will remind our dad to laugh as well.  I thank Paul for this “joyous reminder”…. as he wrote to the church in Philippi….and penned one of my favorite scriptures:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say it: Rejoice!”  (Philippians 4:4)


There has been no better time for the Shaw girls to be reminded to rejoice…and laugh…out loud.

Rejoicing today…and everyday….

Ms. O