It's been a little over a year since our family said goodbye to "Papa."
He and I were not related by blood, as I married his son, but some people come into our lives for only a little while and leave lifelong impressions.
Papa was still helping my husband rake hay when I first came to the farm. I rode alongside on the 4320 fender and learned how to perfect the art, even though my husband would tell me to look back while Papa told me to look ahead. That thought still makes me chuckle.
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There came a time Papa wasn't able to farm anymore, and eventually, he was left unable to drive his '69 Dodge to the flea market to sell his turnip greens, molasses and honey.
What he never lost, though, were his memories or uncanny ability to take you back to his World War II naval days through his stories.
One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was the opportunity I had to help, along with other family members, care for him when his health declined. I wouldn't trade those holy (and sometimes hard) days for anything. When we take time to help those who can no longer help themselves, we are better for it.
These people are all around us -- in our families, nursing homes, churches, neighborhoods and farming communities.
If I could ask anything, it would be that they not be forgotten, as well as those caring for them. Loneliness can go both ways. In this time when we have so many things vying for our attention and time, it is easy to misplace the needs of those right in front of us who need our help the most.
A phone call, a meal or a short visit can go a long way in spreading the one thing our world needs more of -- love.
> Blogger Meredith Bernard writes, takes photographs and ponders life and agriculture from her North Carolina family farm. Follow her on Twitter @thisfarmwife, and visit her website at thisfarmwife.com.
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