Now that we are back to school…..well mostly, I have 2 high school boys in the house this year and a 7th grade Kathryn. She is taking a high school speech class. The competition for the computer is fierce.

You know who is always last and posting just has to wait.

It is okay though…….I have a lot to do with helping this one or that one research and find what they need for an outside class or research something I am requiring. Even though we are not in a full groove yet ………I still think we just may learn something.

Since Halloween we have been very busy doing this or that, running here or there.

The Halloween party at Bill’s was a success. We didn’t mind the rain that put the bonfire out. All in all the rain was refreshing…There is something comforting getting together huddled in a cozy spot with family for another occasion.

As my mother has said many times these past months

~ “Our Father is always with us……The Beat will go on…..”

Stephanie surprised us with her remarkable cake decorating skills.

And things felt just a little normal… if we pretended …. While we listened to the rain, the Blues being played on the CD player, the voices singing along with Scott, Linda’s oldest son, strumming his guitar in time, Bill and I talked about the terrible loss we both felt. The rain seemed to be making an attempt to wash away some of the pain. Bill and I pretended to be brave for each other. We could feel our father smiling down on us knowing his family was together celebrating the fall, Halloween and letting the children play late into the night.

Sunday morning came all too fast. An early morning Mass and the boys served on the Alter again. An afternoon visit to my mothers turned into an impromptu birthday party for Eva. In good old George fashion he called his mother and said: “Today is Eva’s birthday.” “We are going to be over in about 10 minutes for a party.”

Without much persuading his mother came through once again. With quick phone calls to Margaret and Linda asking them if they knew and could they possibly come by to celebrate Eva’s 9th “surprise on us” birthday party……. after all….This is what we do. We celebrate life….Of course Margaret and Linda came through. Linda is one to have a closet of goodies just for these surprise occasions.

Margaret followed suit and came through with a book and a bracelet she had picked up for a dollar some where. My mother dug through her old pocketbooks and Christmas presents she had forgotten to give years past. I dug through the Goodwill bag I had in the car and luckily came up with a proper gift for a nine year old girl on my own.

As the men talked and laughed in the kitchen that afternoon, the women prepared the meal, set the table, wrapped the gifts and put together a proper party. As I chopped vegetables for the salad I looked out the kitchen window and saw the most important site of the day….

It was James initiating some normalcy with a Fall football game among the younger children in the back yard…and things felt almost whole again if only for a second.

We could feel our father smiling on us…knowing his family was together again celebrating.

My mom was right… The beat will go on.

Monday now and Auntie had a simple surgery performed on her eyes……The result was not so simple as she does not seem to do well with these things. A little TLC was thrown her way and with lots of rest she soon began to recover.

Soon Wednesday would be upon us and Stephen’s Confirmation. Which he was all too ready for. He tried on the shirt I had him measure for and bought only a month ago for my father’s funeral. It was quickly discovered the shirt must have shrunk in the wash…. It was a mad dash back to the store….I took Stephen and the shirt with me. I explained to the man at the store the shirt was too small. I followed the washing direction and it was only a month old.

With another quick measure we soon found the culprit…. Stephen. His arms had grown an inch in just a month. This man told me; I needed to take my little boy over to the big and tall section to find his proper length. Stephen could not have been more delighted to learn he had grown and inch and was now to long for the clothing of average size men.

And the beat goes on.

Wednesday nights confirmation could not have been more beautiful. Our new Bishop came and celebrated the confirmation mass. The family came and once again that day Stephen could not have been more excited. He had prepared a long time for this night. Even though we where short one very important family member we all could feel him there.

A confirmation celebration during the month of All Souls could not have been more fitting for our family.

After the Mass there were pictures and wouldn’t you know I dropped my camera breaking the little clip that holds the batteries in. The only picture I was able to take was one quick test picture before the whole thing died for the night.

There was the confirmation celebration over in the church hall and I met an old friend from the karate school. She told me how sorry she was when she heard about my father through another friend. She knew about his courageous fight from the beginning and thought she would tell me just how terrible she felt that she had not done anything. She had not sent a card, called me or even sent a simple e-mail. She told me over and over again just how bad SHE felt that she just didn’t do anything to say just how very, very sorry she was.

My answer to her was simple: “Don’t feel bad….If you want to send a card, call me or come over that would be greatly appreciated. We ALL still feel just terrible. There is still plenty of time. After all it has only been a month. We are not talking about losing a puppy….This is my father and the loss is so very great. There is still plenty of time if you want to do something for any of us. Once again it would be greatly appreciated.

The night ended and Stephen was so very proud.

Thursday my mother decided she would visit Karen for a couple of days. Off she went to North Carolina and they had a wonderful time.

Saturday night brought a game of tag phone when Margaret was trying to get in touch with me to share a letter written to her from a woman she had met on the Internet. Margaret told me Amy and she became friends through e-mail because of the marathon. Amy had donated money to her through Jenny’s blog. Margaret said they had written e-mails to each other a couple of times and how this wonderful woman was kind enough to send a care package just before the big race.

Margaret was over whelmed with the kindness of Amy and just the thought that she cared enough to write a real letter with her thoughts and show her love was over whelming to all of us.

These are Amy’s words:

I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am by the extraordinary family that you are a part of! From reading Jen’s blog and from reading your sister’s blog too, honestly I am always, every time, finding myself moved in some way. Certainly the warm and beautiful tributes to your Dad’s incredible “life well lived” left me in tears over and over again (because I read them over and over again!). But there are so many delightful and uplifting and meaningful stories about who you all are as a family… I just want to say “thank you” for the example you all set and for the reminder that family is out greatest blessing. How have I learned so much from people I have never met?!?! ………………………….Well just wanted to let you know that your life and your family and your humor and your optimism…. they continue to inspire!

Love, Amy

And once again WE are over whelmed with the kindness of strangers. The people that have poured their love on us has been truly for a lack of a better word…..just simply over whelming.

The Amy’s of the world are the extraordinary ones. We are just a family….trying to get through. I want to say Thank you Amy for being kind and thoughtful enough to carry threw…You truly humble us.

Sunday my mother arrived home safely and a surprise knock came to the door. It was Rebecca, a friend of mine and Margaret’s, with a cake, smiles, warm conversation, hugs and most of all love. She and her teenage daughter had dropped by to check on our mom. She wanted to let my mother know she knew her pain and most of all she was thinking of our mother.

It always amazes Margaret and I when these woman we know and love check on our mom. It is over whelming to think they care about us this much to show their love…..over and over and over again.

And the Beat goes on.

Monday again and Matthew could not be more excited about the lecture he, Stephen and I were going to an hour and a half drive away from our home; Dr. Ron Paul would be speaking at USC in Columbia on The Constitution, Tolerance and the State of the Economic Crises……we feel everyday.

After the lecture Matthew stood in a crowd to meet this man he so admires….I took his picture as Stephen patiently waited off to the side.

After the final Photo we where on our way home for a late night drive.

There was a late dinner and warm conversation with my boys. Matthew told me how excited he was to have finely met Dr. Paul and that The excitement was so much for him he said almost didn’t feel as depressed as he has felt in months. Stephen cracked jokes and we laughed, ate and talked about the lecture.

Matthew said he wished he could share it all with his grandpa and he just knew Grandpa would be as excited as he was. He told me he felt Grandpa would have come to the lecture….If he could have. We talked about the future and things almost felt whole again…if we pretended only for a second.

And the Beat goes on.

Tuesday I get the mail from Monday and an amazing thing happened….I open a card. It reads In Memory of from the American Cancer Society:

In Remembrance of

William Finnell, Sr

A Memorial Gift has been made to

The American Cancer Society.

Our prayer are with you always.

We love you! Karate Girls

And I am truly over whelmed and think boy these woman are amazing. They really do love us and they do pray for us…..We can feel it. How is it we have been so blessed with such wonderful DO-ERS in our lives?

As I prepared for the dinner guest we would be welcoming for the night Ann calls and asks me about a Breast Cancer Walk in Washington DC 2010 that Jen said I was going to do….I give her huuuuh??? What??? As Ann fills me in on the details we laugh and say well let’s look into it. It sounds like it would be fun…….. Jen, Margaret, Karen, Regina? Ohhhh that does sound like a good time…….I tell her Maybe I will be able go….I’ll check it out and let her know.

Father Theo and Mom came for dinner that night. Baked Lasagna and chocolate cake.

The dinner went off wonderfully. As the rain and the wind came down around the house in the woods that Bill built we laughed, enjoyed the great company, ate dinner, shared conversation and talked about father. We talked about how beautiful it was to share the last couple of months with him and truly care for him. We talked about the future……and things almost felt whole again if we pretended….. only for a second.

Today is Wednesday there is an Environmental Lecture the boys need to go to for Debate at Clemson University another hour and a half drive away. Should be interesting.

Ummm ~ Mom was right….The Beat does go on.

“The beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da”

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13 thoughts on “And The Beat Goes On

  1. Well, Lisa…I MUST SAY THIS…for someone who claims she is not a writer, you have an innate sense for pacing, poetry and story telling…and I pushed back tears over and over again as I read this, your authentic and heartfelt post…The beat does indeed go on…and you and your family create a beautiful symphony! I love you, and continue to pray everyday…I wish I lived closer…but my heart and love are with you…Janine XO

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  2. Very nice post Lisa. Yes, I know that your Dad would have gone to hear Ron Paul with you. He always supported anything that his family wanted to do. Stephan looks so handsome and proud to have been confirmed. You will never be alone–your Dad will always be with you–and I know he is loving that. You are doing a great job raising your family. Auntie

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  3. We all mend and heal in different ways. It sounds as if you have a good support group of family and friends, and I do know how you feel about the lady who keep apologizing. I kept trying to figureif she was an affirming person, and evaluating person, or just let itme slip by frozen by doing nothing. sometimes I am guilty of that!Lately, I at least send a card which often opens the door to other things I might do….except cook….you don't want any of my cooking for any occasion!

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  4. Lisa!!! Margaret!!! You guys owe me many, many boxes of kleenex for all the crazy tears you put me through!!! :)I can't believe I received a mention on this incredible blog…I just love checking in to see what sort of things your family is up to…I find that what you guys (and Jen) do with your time always seems to be purposeful and important and special. And I'm grateful for those reminders! Even in simple things, you're able to see the importance of spending time with each other. (Not that there's anything simple in lasagna and chocolate cake…those are deep complexities in life that I will never understand, but that I am grateful for!!!)Lisa, you are certainly raising some gifted and unusually special children, I love reading about the depth they have in their lives already. And Margaret, you just continue to humble me, you really do. That is TWICE now that I've shown up on a blog that I love because you made it happen…!!! Ha! Truly, you've made me feel so special which is just ridiculous considering I've been trying to show YOU how special YOU are!!!! But no matter what, suffice it to say that strangers can muddle through life together and do it with love. Thanks for doing what I'm learning you guys all do best (aside from the baking and impromptu party-throwing)…making others feel special and loved!Really, really grateful to continue to learn from you guys. …and the beat goes on…

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  5. Dear Amy, What can I say! My sister and I would be more then happy to buy all the Kleenex for you we can. I tried to leave you a personal message but did not know where to sent it. I hope you see this one: Thank you so much for coming into our lives and spreading your optimism. Your comments and encouragement is so greatly appreciated. Thank you for your love, your sorrow and your prayers. Know that you are helping us get through this most very difficult time in our lives. Know………We are really, really grateful to continue to learn from you. We are the students, you Amy are the Do-erMuch Love, Lisa

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  6. The beat does go on..no matter how hard. One month, one year..it still is hard. I miss my dad and it's been almost 21 years. I am thinking of you.Love your pics. The football one is priceless.I also agree that you are quite the writer. You touch my heart with almost all of your posts.God bless…xo

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  7. What do you mean – Huuuuh???Don't you REMEMBER? Standing in the kitchen and talking about THE walk next year?! You and Karen both said, "We'll do it. We're IN!" You look great in pink. You'll do it. You know you want to…

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  8. Jen, I should have said……….I remember Atlanta 20?? something……….I don't remember Washington 2010Never heard of Washington 2010 NEVER!!!!!!!! BUT!!! ~ Washington 2010 does sound fun…….Something to look forward too! Maybe I will drag Kathryn along with us…….Yes, I do look good in Pink……..Yes, I'll plan on doing it…..Yes, I do want to……….YES!!!!!!!! You make me laugh!!!

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