“April showers bring May flowers.”  At least that’s how the saying goes.  But for my family, the April showers are more like hurricanes.  April is the month in which two members of my immediate family have passed away.  True, their deaths were years apart, but even so. . .  The deaths in which I speak of are those of my baby sister, April Theresa, and that of my father, Joseph T. Ruli.  Little April was born on April 3, 1974 and died on April 5, 1974, only three days after she was born. She had been born with only half of a heart.  I was four at the time, and very confused when Mama and Daddy came home from the hospital empty-handed.   All I could think to do at that time was to ask, “Where’s the baby ?”  I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for my mother.  Although she was only in this world for a brief time, little April left her mark on this world, a mark which can never be erased.  I believe that my baby sister, April, is now a saint in heaven and is watching over us in a special way.   Well, fast-forward to April 15, 2014, over 40 years later.  That was the day that my father, Joseph T. Ruli breathed his last.  His death was hard on all of us.  It was almost three years ago, yet it seems as though it were yesterday.  They say time heals all wounds . . .  I wonder.  The loss of my father was devastating, yet we all knew that his time had come.  I thank God that I was blessed with such a wonderful man for my Daddy.  He was one of a kind.

I mentioned earlier that those April showers felt more like hurricanes.  While that may be true, the flowers that they brought are like eternal roses.  While the death of my baby sister left a deep hole in our lives, it also gave us an everlasting gift – the gift of our family’s own little saint.  The death of my father left me hurting, asking why, and feeling a void that could not be filled.  Yet, if I look deeper, I see that my father’s death also left me with a gift.  I believe that my father left each one of us with our own, special, unique gift.  For me, that gift was the fact that he passed away while I was holding onto his hand.  That is something that can never be taken away.  It is a beautiful rose, blooming despite all odds.  It is like the rose in the header of this blog – blooming brightly on a dying bush despite the odds.  This photo was taken by me of a bush in my front yard.  That bush is no longer there, yet the rose that my father left me will bloom forever.  He left all six of us our own eternal rose, and when put together, they form the most beautiful, everlasting bouquet.   May God bring my Daddy home.



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