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A week before Christmas, I visited my dad in the memory care unit. His face lit up when he saw me. “Sheri! My sister! You are here!”

I’m mostly used to it now-- that I am sometimes his sister to him, sometimes his daughter. Sometimes I’m someone he simply knows he knows but he’s not sure how.

After our visit that day, I remembered and found an email he had sent nine years ago. It was a photo of he and I, on a quiet boat ride just before sunset when the lake was still and the loons were calling. In the email subject line he had written only this quote:

“Those were the days, my friend, I hoped they’d never end.”

He emailed me that a year before my mom died.

And just before his memory started to fade.

As this 2021 sweep around the sun comes to a close, I’m reminded. With the wedding and the move of two daughters. Gatherings for yoga, sound, and meditation on the mat. Writing and art and editing. A book released. Hikes and bonfires, and shared bottles of wine. Relationships that are new, and old, and those that have run their course. Things breaking and healing. Things blooming. Things simply being.

I’m reminded that the past 365 days of the year were a collection of moments and miracles that can’t be replayed or hung onto and perhaps at some point, maybe not even remembered. But whether I laughed with you or cried, or worked or played or practiced or sat in stillness with you, I’m humbly grateful.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I would go to my dad’s business on Saturdays and play in the warehouse while he worked in his office. He’d always let us go into the middle drawer of his desk and take out a stick of Juicy Fruit gum. It was the greatest gift, that small little token of his kindness.

A week before Christmas this year, when my dad was struggling to remember who I really was, he reminded me of what was more important: who he really was and who he will always be. He said, “Before you leave, Sheri, the least I can do is offer you a stick of gum?”

Here’s to the reminders that a year can bring. Cherishing the moments with you all, my friends, because these are the days…


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