My father, Ben Sanders, was one of Santa's helpers. A tall and barrel chested man with a striking white beard and twinkling smile, he was proud to wear the beautiful red velvet suit my mom made for him. He began growing his beard near the end of summer, grooming it impeccably. As his phone rang for Santa "gig's" he wrote them in a little book. These appearances included parades, shopping malls, parties, Christmas tree farms, you name it, he went. It was a happy way for a man, who had worked hard to support his family to spend his retirement days. This added a new dimension to our family Christmas, and for me, a quiet peace knowing that though my Dad was not always treated fairly in the insurance industry he spent my childhood working in, he was loved greatly as one of Santa's helpers.
Dad worked his Santa job the winter of 1990 but became ill shortly after. We would not know for several months that he had pancreatic cancer. As I watched in disbelief his great stature seem to melt away. Days and weeks turned to months and in June of 1991 surgery was performed to investigate a mass on his pancreas.
As we waited for him to emerge from surgery, the surgeon returned to the waiting room too soon, too soon to have done anything I felt. The news was that not only did my Dad have pancreatic cancer, it had metastasized to his organs. They closed him up and sent him home to die.
The weeks that followed were surreal. We have always been a close family and we rallied around doing what we could to help Mom. Knowing that Dads time was coming soon Hospice was called in. We were asked to tell him that it was ok to go, that we would take care of Mom. This was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do because it wasn't time for him to go, not in my book. But, we all gave him permission to leave. On the night of July 22, 1991, I left my two young boys home with their Dad and went to spend the night at "home". My brother and I left Dad's side a bit before midnight and I fell asleep to the familiar and comforting sound of my father snoring. Mom was dozing in the rocking chair next to him. At 12:10am, July 23 I awoke suddenly, it was too quite, there was no snoring, there was no breathing, my Dad had gone home. Dad had chosen to leave, July 23 1991, my Moms 60th birthday. He knew we would always be together on that day and that Mom would not be alone.
I distinctly recall the painful first year of grieving his loss. I compared every Santa to Dad that year, angry with their presence and my Dads absence. It wasn't the right time for me to lose him, and now I know, that for those of us who remain, the time never seems right.
Dad kept a little rainbow shaped bank that he would put all the dimes from his pocket into. When the bank was full he and Mom would take the money, I remember it being $77and do something together. I decided that anytime I found a dime that it would be Dad talking to me. In the many years since my Dad went "home" I have literally found hundreds of dimes. At times I save them until my pretty green glass bottle is filling up , at other times I feel him say, "Use the dimes Sis." and I empty the jar and start the process all over again. For me, he is reminding me not to hold on too tightly to that which I label as "him". His love flows through us all without end. No, I cannot hug his big body, but I tell you, every time I find a dime it gives me a little giggle in my heart that reminds me to lighten up. When we lighten up and our vibration raises, we are open and available to receive their love that is flowing to us without end.
If you have not received or decided what your sign is for your loved one to send you, choose today!
I pray for the spirits of those who have passed to receive the blessing of love. I pray that we allow ourselves to receive their love and light and to know, without doubt, that we are loved and all is well.