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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

A Summer of Gratitude - I’m grateful for my mom and dad

Here we are on my second blog post in my series titled “A Summer of Gratitude.” This blog post will be published on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. I chose to write about my mom and dad for this post as my mom passed away on June 22, 2020, four years ago, and around this time of year, I think about how blessed I am with the parents God gave me.

I’ve written quite a lot in the past about my mom, as she and I were very close, and her death is still fairly recent, so I still struggle almost daily with that sadness. My mom was the best! She had the sweetest smile and demeanor until you played Scrabble with her, and then she was ruthless. Not really, but she did like to win, and she was so incredibly good at finding ways to use the “Z” on the triple word tile! She probably won 95% of the Scrabble games she played with our family, and not by just a few points; she’d outscore us by hundreds of points! I miss talking to her on the phone–sometimes I listen to the voice mails just so I can hear her say, “Hey, babe, this is mom. . .” I loved knowing that she was praying for me and my family, and I knew she was always in my corner. I have her Bible now, and I love reading her handwriting as she wrote down special verses and things she was praying for.

Now, I don’t think I’ve written much about my dad, but he was a wonderful father. When I think of my dad, a few things come to mind: hard working, tough, no-nonsense, strict (but not too strict), smart, shy, and loving. He and my mom were a great team and a perfect balance for each other. He was a doer–he could do just about anything from plumbing to electrical work, to construction, to mechanics, and it was rare for him to ever hire someone to come into our house to do work. He worked for many years, like 40, for the Wyoming Highway Department as a surveyor–he loved what he did, and he was loyal. Some of my favorite memories of my dad are planting colorful tulips with him in the yard, reading his hand printed notes that he would write to me on paper towels for special occasions (no Hallmark cards for my dad), raising and enjoying dozens of bunnies for my 4-H projects, eating his “world famous” egg/ham/cheese muffins on Saturday mornings, and tearing open the care packages he’d send with homemade goodies while I was away at college.

My dad had a cardiac arrest in the fall of 1994, while I was a senior at Sioux Falls College. They were able to save him with CPR and a defibrillator, but he suffered from brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain, and that was a struggle he lived with for 3 ½ more years until he passed away on April 1, 1998.The strength my mom showed during that time was nothing short of a miracle, as the journey was difficult with my dad in and out of rehab facilities, nursing homes, and VA hospitals. My boys never got to know my dad, as they were born after he passed away, but I know he would have adored them! 

There are Bible verses about honoring your mother and father, and I don’t know if I always did that well when I was young, but I want to honor them now by thanking God for the Godly parents he put in my life. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” My parents were a gift from God, and for that, I thank Him!

Now let me share with you a few pictures:

This family photo was taken in 1978, I think, as I was about five years old here. What I really remember was my sister tried to curl my hair with a curling iron in preparation for this picture, and my forehead was burned, so I’m not sure how the photographer got me to smile. Plus, that’s a HUGE smile for my dad–he usually had a sort of Elvis-like half grin.

This picture was taken when I was in high school, and I love this picture of my mom and dad. They were such a handsome couple!

I didn’t have quick access to all of our old pictures, but I found this one I had saved electronically, so I thought I’d share it. I love this picture of my mom holding me as we’re both so happy–the way she’s looking at me speaks volumes to how much she really loved me. 

Boy, I sure do miss both my mom and dad! Writing this blog helped me shed some tears of happiness, as I was able to remember so many good memories! Thanks for sharing this journey of gratitude with me, friends!



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1 Comment

Jun 19

Wonderful tribute to your mom and dad Julie! They were special people!

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