True Crime, Freesias and a Happy Easter

My conversations with my dad are not what most daughters have with their fathers.  For one thing, they are held over the telephone most Sundays when he calls me from home prison.  For another, our conversations aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill. Our most recent one went something like this:

“Just to let you know Dad I’ll be away for a couple of weeks.  I’ll drop you a line with the dates so that you’ll know when I’ll be back and we can chat then!”

“No problem darling, where are you going, somewhere nice?”

“Lewes.”

“Oh yes, Lewes!  I remember Lewes.  Long time ago now, but a very nice town, from what I saw of it!”

“When did you go to Lewes then Dad? You’re not getting confused with Arundel are you?”

“Oh no.  I’ve been to both!  I was in nic for a spell in Lewes as well as Ford. I’ve been everywhere man!”

That’s the gist of it anyway. I’ve honestly lost track of all the prisons my dad has done time in and even joked with him once that he should star-rate them according to how good or bad the food, accommodation and location is.  A sort of Trip Advisor for cons.

During these roller-coaster decades my thoughts towards my dad have ranged from acceptance but with sadness, to great concern and fear for his life and then veering to anger and rage, times even when I thought I downright hated him and wanted nothing more to do with him such was my hurt and disappointment, putting it mildly.

The most recent photo I have of me with my dad, taken in 2006 outside Kingston Lacy House, Dorset.  Dad was 'out', living at a half-way house but not long after this he started drinking again, attempted to rob a bank and was arrested.   Photographs aren't allowed in prison. (c ) Sherri Matthews 2014

The most recent photo I have of me with my dad, taken in 2006 outside Kingston Lacy House, Dorset. Dad was ‘out’, living in a half-way house but not long after this he started drinking again, attempted to rob a bank and was arrested.
Photographs aren’t allowed in prison.
(c ) Sherri Matthews 2014

But I could never leave him, this lost-soul of a man who is my father, who is now eighty-one and still in prison.

Love can walk hand-in-hand with hate,  ready to pull away when life doesn’t match up to what is so often expected.

My ‘hate’ was never what it seemed.  I always loved my dad and always will.

Easter brings back a memory of a time when I was a teenager catching the train to spend the Easter weekend with my dad.

I remember waking up that sunny Easter morning and dad pacing up and down, desperate for the pub to open.  While I got ready, he popped out to the off-licence to buy cigarettes and booze – what else? – but when he returned, he stunned and thrilled me when he handed me a small bunch of freesias. The only other gift I remember from my dad was a bottle of Charlie perfume which I kept forever and a lifetime.

My dad was the first man who ever gave me flowers and the delicate beauty and scent of freesias make me stop in my tracks even today.

Beautiful Freesias

Beautiful Freesias

I wasn’t to know then that after this visit I wouldn’t have another sober conversation with him for many years.  His drinking escalated, he disappeared under the radar but somehow we managed to keep in touch by letter when he was sober (meaning, in prison).

Easter time with my own children growing up in California was always a happy, fun-filled family time. My mum would often visit us from England at this time of year, her suitcases crammed full with British-style chocolate Easter Eggs.

It meant a great deal to me to be able to share them with my kids alongside their traditional American Easter baskets, which were not something I grew up with.

Granny’s visit was always something to be eagerly anticipated with great excitement!

You can always talk to me... (Eldest son & Bonnie 1984) (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

You can always talk to me…
(Eldest son & Bonnie 1984)
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Although we had our share of adventures even then. One Easter, our darling dog Bonnie, a cross Lab/Collie, managed to get to Granny’s Easter Eggs (hidden out of sight but not from a dog’s powerful sense of smell) while we were out one afternoon and ate the lot, foil and all.

I was convinced she had been poisoned and was going to die.  Oh no, my poor Bonnie! Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate, right?  But that dog was cast iron.

She never got ill.  She lived a long, healthy life until she ran out of steam and left us peacefully, many years later in her old age.

Easter holds some powerful memories for me. It was during the long Easter weekend back in 1980  that my life was thrown into immediate turmoil.

That Easter Sunday I took a phone call bearing devastating news that would send me on a flight to the East Coast of America not a few days later. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Many years later at Easter in 2003, a For Sale sign went up in front of our home in California and with every thud of the Realtor’s hammer pounding that wooden sign deeper into the ground, my marriage of twenty-one years shattered and splintered into the broken dirt surrounding it

That same Easter in California, the winds had howled and the seas had raged, black and fierce, churning up its dark secrets. A woman’s torso washed up on a beach in Northern California and not one mile away, the body of a baby, her baby.

Married and pregnant, a beautiful young woman called Laci Peterson had been missing since the previous Christmas and I, along with millions of others in America, was glued to the reports coming in of the search for her.

The news that she and her baby had been found meant a bittersweet closure for her grieving family that Easter, but the ensuing trial ripped apart Laci’s so-called grieving husband’s lies and today Scott Peterson sits on Death Row in San Quentin Prison in California.

Yet, in the mix of these memories, and let’s face it, we were never promised a rose garden,  the strength of all that is good and right takes hold of my heart and reminds me to be ever thankful for the simple and sure message of Easter and the blessings in my life.

Californian Poppies in the Spring - Cambria, CA (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Californian Poppies in the Spring – Cambria, CA
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

For me, there is no better way to do this than to remember the words spoken by one  certain little four-year old boy one Easter Sunday many years ago.

Let loose when Sunday School came to an end and bursting out of the classroom (very excited to get home to his Easter treats) he was not only desperate to show me pictures he had drawn but also to tell me something he had memorised that morning.  Something about a man called Jesus and what somebody had said when they couldn’t find him in the tomb.

The words came tumbling out from the mouth of my youngest son, his face beaming with pride, so pleased with himself that he had remembered what to say:

“He is not here, He is risen, just as He said!”  (Matthew 28:6)

That’s the Easter I remember and I smile because of it.

 ……………………………………………………………………..

This will be my last post until next week.  Family time (guess who gets to hear all about a certain someone’s trip to California?!) coming up, although I will be keeping tabs on you all and catching up with your blogs, so please bear with me! (Is it me, or am I always playing catch-up these days?)  Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Easter, filled with joy and blessings for you and your families. And, as I always say, watch this space 🙂

Love Sherri x

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has published a collection of non-fiction articles in magazines, anthologies and online at her Summerhouse blog, and a memoir column at Carrot Ranch, an international online literary community. A keen walker and photographer from the UK, she raised her family in California for twenty years. Today, she lives in England’s West Country, hoping soon to publish her debut memoir.
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, My California, My Dad's Alcoholic Prison and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

118 Responses to True Crime, Freesias and a Happy Easter

  1. Wow, Sherri! I need Kleenex after reading that post! That is quite a story. I grew up with an alcoholic father also, but he always had a job. The only gift I remember him buying for me himself (even my mom claimed she didn’t know about it) was a sterling silver I.D. bracelet with my first name engraved on it when I was 14. Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to it through the years. He chose to get sober when I was 27 (the same year I did), and we had a pretty good relationship until he died in 2009. My mom passed away in 2006, the night before Easter. She died on April 15th that year. I hope you have a wonderful week off and a beautiful Easter. “He is not here, He is risen, just as He said!” Amen to the hope of eternal life we have in what Christ did for us on the cross! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Patsy, I’m so sorry to read that you experienced the same with your dad’s alcoholism. but how wonderful that he chose sobriety so that you were able to enjoy a proper relationship with him in his later years. Also so sorry that you’ve lost your mom, and at Easter time. Some very poignant Easter memories for you too. Big hugs…
      Thanks so much for your lovely Easter wishes and also for reading my other related posts about my dad, I will reply to those as soon as I can. I’m going to be intermittent with my blogging over the next several days but I will get there!
      Until then Patsy, may you and your family also have a blessed, joyous and peaceful Easter. He is risen indeed 🙂

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      • Thank you, Sherri. The first couple of years after losing my mom were the hardest, but I am okay now. I’m sure she is with the Lord rejoicing in His presence forever. I can’t say that for sure about my dad, though. But as I said, I am very thankful for the years I had with him when he was sober! 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        That must have been so hard for you Patsy but I’m so glad to know you are okay now. A very, very tough time for you. Bless you and so glad that you have those precious memories of both your mom and dad to keep safe in your heart forever… 🙂

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  2. I’ve always loved that photo of you and your father, Sherri. Such a beautifully written post. I love the description of your son’s excitement when he came out of Sunday School. We should all be that excited by the glorious event. Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter and a safe trip to California. I can’t wait to read all about it! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Jill. I will never forget Nicky’s face when he was so excited to recite back what he had learned and he repeated it all Easter long! It really is a glorious event indeed.
      I’ve given the wrong impression about California though, I wish I was going back to a visit, but what I meant to say was that I get to hear all about my eldest son’s recent trip to California because he is staying with us for a few days over Easter! Think I’ll have to make a correction to that!
      I will be writing about my little bedtime story though next week hopefully, if not, then certainly the week following that!
      I will try to dip in tomorrow and catch your blog, but meanwhile, sending Easter blessings to you and DFD too…have a wonderful day 🙂 xo

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      • I’m sure Nicky’s expression was priceless. No corrections necessary, Sherri. I read your post at 6:30 a.m., so I’m sure the wrong impression was on my end. I’m happy to hear you’re staying put and the chicks are coming to their momma. 🙂
        I’m off tomorrow for Good Friday and look forward to time with family. DFD just returned from a trip to Costa Rica with his brother…it’s so nice to have him home.
        Have a blessed Easter my dear, Sherri. xoxo

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      • Sherri says:

        Oh Jill, It’s so funny because when I read what you said about having a great time in California I got excited just at the thought of it, even though I knew I wasn’t going anywhere!! Well, we can dream, right? 😉
        But yes, so lovely to be spending time with my chicks and just grabbing a few quick moments here before heading out for the day…
        Wow, Costa Rica, how wonderful for DFD but so glad you have him back and wishing you both a beautiful, blessed Easter… He is risen!! 🙂 xo

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  3. Have a great time in California, Sherri. I enjoyed reading about your memories of Easter. That is a great photo of you and your Dad.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Bev, thanks so much, but as I said to Jill, I’ve given the wrong impression as I’m not going to California but going to hear all about my eldest son’s recent trip there! Wish I was going though…I’ll be catching up with you but a very Happy Easter to you too 🙂

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  4. tieshka says:

    Hi Sherri- Another great jam-packed post! Glad you’ve been able to keep up and accept your dad with his shortcoming and all… we all have our faults. I hope your son’s trip to California ended well after all the shaking in So. Cal!

    We went to Palm Sunday mass last week- my personal favorite mass of the year and it was quite inspiring. The crazy underwater egg hunt is tomorrow evening and we’ll definitely do baskets on vacation. I can imagine mixing American & British traditions and how special that would be with your mom as we do the same thing with American & Italian traditions. Have a wonderful Easter with your family!

    ps- I remember poor Laci Peterson, I hadn’t thought of her for quite some time.. bless her soul.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tieshka! It has been a rough ride with my dad but I came to the point of forgiveness a long time ago and accepted him as he is, that he won’t ever change, barring a miracle!!

      Yes thanks, his trip went really well and I get to hear all about it this Easter, can’t wait! No more earthquakes, hope no more shaking and rattling for you!

      Oh yes, the underwater egg hunt, can’t wait to hear about it and see the pics! I’ll be over to you shortly, but have a wonderful vacation and a blessed, Happy Easter to you and your family. Hope you get the rest and restoration you deserve. Great that you get the mix too of American and Italian, the kids love it don’t they? 🙂

      Yes, very sad about poor Laci Peterson. I never forgot it…

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  5. lilkaraphael says:

    Easter does stir up a wealth of memories and faith that I will once again see my earthly father in Heaven. Reading your memories stirs up my own Sherri. Thank you for that!
    Enjoy your Easter holiday and the joy the resurrection holds for us. Peace and Love, Lilka

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m glad that this reminded you of some good memories and the knowledge that you will be reunited with your dad one day Lilka, thank you for letting me know that.
      You too, enjoy your Easter with your lovely family, be blessed and be peaceful in all things…love to you too 🙂

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  6. What a beautiful post Sherri. Your dad has a lovely gentle face, it’s awful what alcohol or drug misuse does to people. It is a credit to him that your love is unfailing. I hope that brings him peace. Surely at his age he is no threat to society! Can’t you request that he goes into a care home or something?
    The rest of the post is beautiful in its honesty. it is so lovely to reminisce sometimes.
    I wish you and yours a really happy Easter x

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Brenda, I certainly do appreciate your thoughts and concern for my dad. The problem is that they don’t know what to do with him. He drinks as soon as he is released (he refuses to go into a care home, says it’s ‘one foot in the grave’ and won’t consider living with family, still very proud even now so there’s nothing I can do) and then makes a half-hearted attempt to rob a bank or post office because he wants to go back ‘inside’ as that is the only place where he feels he belongs. I know that at least there he is looked after, left alone (he is treated like royalty because of his age) and gets all his meals, meds etc. He could have had such a different life if only he could have wanted to stop drinking..
      My dad and I do have a very close, loving relationship despite all that has happened.
      I wish the very same for you too Brenda, a joyous, Happy Easter filled with blessings galore 🙂 xx

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  7. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful photo of you and your dad! He has a wonderful gentle smile. Sorry to hear about his drinking… Beautiful post, Sherri. Happy Easter to you!

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  8. jennypellett says:

    Ah Sherri – I remember this photo from before – it’s a lovely one and shows the bond that you share with your dear Dad – however flawed he may be – he’s still your Pa.
    You are a remarkable person with such a huge heart – I feel very privileged to have you as a blogging buddy.
    A very happy Easter to you, my dear – may you always smell the freesias. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes Jenny, I knew you would remember this one! He is indeed still my Pa no matter what and thanks so much for your lovely words (very humbled such as I am), you warm my heart with your friendship and I am sooooo glad to have ‘met’ you here as I would say that the privilege is all mine… You’re a star….Happy Easter to you too and I’m smelling those freesias right about now… 🙂 x

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  9. Denise says:

    That’s a really touching picture with your dad, especially together with the caption. “Photographs aren’t allowed in prison.” You both look happy and it’s a hopeful picture. I guess things haven’t turned out the way you might have asked for them to, but at least you have found acceptance and you write very tenderly about him.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Denise. I do hope that I’ll get another photograph in with my dad at some point…but yes, I am rather fond of this particular photo for many reasons 🙂
      I wish my dad had been there for me many times throughout my life but he wasn’t. It’s all I’ve ever known, part of my life and something I couldn’t change and so I accepted it and love my dad despite all he hasn’t been for me. That, and I’ve always know that even in the face of all his problems and weaknesses (and Lord knows, we all have them, just some more than others) he has always loved me…

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  10. mvschulze says:

    Happy Easter to you and your family, Sherri. M

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  11. A wonderful post Sherri.Alcohol can be such a destructive thing. My Mum is in her eighties and I tried hard to visualise her in prison at this time of her life and couldn’t. It must be hard although maybe now it would be harder for him to be out. I’m glad you love him as it means that you have come to terms with everything which must have been very difficult when you were young. You’ve got my interest piqued with your first Easter, had my heart broken with your second and saddened with your third but you brought me up again with your son’s Easter message. I hope you have a Happy Easter with the family and that you don’t get too homesick hearing tales of California. Lots of love and hugs my friend and sending cyber bunnies to you Cheers Irene

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Irene, I’m so glad that you have been left with my son’s Easter message of hope and joy and not a broken heart! I certainly wanted to end with a message of hope but of course we all have our challenges and ‘back stories’ which make up the course of our lives and so need to be told, as you so well know! Bless you for taking the time to share your lovely, kind and heart-warming words here, they mean so much to me and I hope the same for you and your family, a very Happy Easter filled with joy, laughter and blessings and lots of cyber bunnies!! Much love and hugs to you my friend 🙂 x

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  12. longandluxe says:

    Dear Sherri,

    Can’t write too much because I am crying! Your story is so touching and we are so blessed you have shared all of these memories and tender bits of your heart with us.

    Thank you so much for your words and your shining light! I wish you a very blessed, happy and peaceful Easter.

    Hugs!

    Allison

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, bless you Allison, I hope the tears have stopped now! Thank you so much for your kind words, we all have our stories to tell and sometimes they aren’t so pretty but going through a lot of the ‘bad stuff’ (being polite here!) and coming to terms with it all hopefully brings us to a place of acceptance and forgiveness.
      Shine on Allison…hugs and a very blessed, Happy Easter to you too 🙂 x

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  13. Thank you for sharing such a personal and heartfelt post Sherri. I love the openness and honesty with which you write your posts, it makes what your sharing so relatable. I hope that you have a wonderful Easter weekend!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Heather, bless you for your shared thoughts which, as always, mean so much to me. Hope you are enjoying a beautiful Easter weekend with your family too 🙂 x

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  14. tiramarie says:

    Have a wonderful celebration of Easter! It is my favorite season with all the glory to God and the promise of life that goes with that.

    Your writing draws me in so deeply because of the many connections I continue to discover. It seems God is working on my heart to remind me how alike we all are. My dad, also an alcoholic (with a fondness for adventure), always escapes from my grasp. How lucky are you that prison can keep him in place for awhile so you can have a direct line to keep in touch. When I am lucky enough to know my dad’s location, I am able to catch up. Even though the conversation follows a similar story line, it is always a relief. I indeed love my dad even though it is not safe to engage in a regular relationship with him.

    My dad’s crimes are less bold like evading taxes, bouncing checks, borrowing money to pay a debt, messing around with someone else’s wife and likely other things I am not aware of. I don’t think his narcissism allows him to see how he hurts others. He did kind things for me on occasion, but he was usually not around, hiding from his crimes toward my mother. Because I set clear boundaries with my dad about 15 years ago, my dad calls my siblings when he runs out of money options, but he calls me to see how I am and to share how he is. We exchange I love you’s, catch up on health, and I try to offer forgiveness before he says the sorry’s. Often it ends with, “You are forgiven, Dad.”

    I also have a child with a specific diagnosis. My daughter has FSHD type muscular dystrophy. My current family has been shattered, as my husband divorced me after 20 years of marriage. If I didn’t take in the whole picture, I would end up focusing in the difficult challenges rather than the amazing celebrations. I can relate to finding beauty in the unexpected. Your blog is therapeutic for me. Your words are put together so beautifully it helps me sort out my own discoveries.

    I hope to be able to present myself with such beauty and grace.

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    • Sherri says:

      Dear Tira, I am so incredibly moved by your story which I am deeply humbled to read here. Bless you and thank you so very much for sharing your heart and life with me. I can’t say what this means to me, to know that you and I are not alone in our struggles and many challenges. I am so sorry to read about your daughter’s health problems and of the end of your 20 year marriage. Also your dad and all ‘his adventures’. Goodness, can I ever relate to everything you share here! What a powerful connection we have indeed. Yet, how wonderful that you can see the blessings and God’s goodness in all that is surrounding you every day, in the beauty of every day life – The Lord’s mercies are indeed new every morning.

      I want to send you a huge hug and say “It will be alright” and along with that, I also send you my love, prayers and wishes for a beautiful Easter, as we remember all that He did for us on the cross and the redemptive power of forgiveness and salvation which is freely ours. So shall it be, dear Tira…He is risen indeed 🙂

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  15. parrillaturi says:

    Happy Easter Sherri. I grew up in a minister’s home, and thank God, never dealt with alcoholism at home. Having said that, I did counsel many adults who grew up in this most devastating environment, many of whom, had incarcerated parents. So sad! It’s beyond me.
    As a child, Easter was a very glorious day for us. Starting with the church service, my dad’s short sermon following the Easter Pageant, and our musical. Immediately after that, we had the egg hunt, and of course, the church potluck lunch.
    As an adult, and much more aware of the meaning of Easter, I looked forward to our church musicals in which I was involved, as a drummer in the orchestra. These were presented on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Easter Sunday, we had two presentations. After the service, the families( My in-laws, as my biological family lived 4000 miles from me) would gather at my house for a fabulous lunch, followed by the egg hunt with my young nephews, and nieces. We had such great times with them as they ran around the front and back yard, with their ear piercing squeals, which never seemed to bother the adults. We were reliving our past by watching their excited activities. Those memories will forever be ingrained in my heart. May you have a Blessed Easter, in the company of your loved ones. HE IS RISEN!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Johnny, what wonderful Easter memories, thank you so much for sharing them! I loved our Easters when my children were young, we had our traditions and I loved them. They were always happy, relaxed times and included attending church. What a blessing you share here. May you too have an Easter weekend filled with every good thing and the message of truth and hope flooding your heart, as it does every day my friend…He is risen 🙂

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  16. Happy Easter. Enjoy your family.

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  17. Rachel says:

    What a wonderful, heart-felt and fascinating post, Sherri. I was absorbed from the very start!

    I love the photo of you with your Dad. He looks like a kind man, despite his addiction problems. I’m glad you still have a relationship with him.

    I looked up the Laci Peterson story and wow! What a ghastly case. I can see why you will always remember it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Rachel, I really appreciate your kind words. Yes, quite a story isn’t it? You can see why it grabbed me and so many others. So tragic that Laci was found in such a way, as if her husband had no way to escape conviction…
      Wishing you and your family very Happy Easter 🙂

      Like

  18. Another gem, rich! A mixture of the bitter with the sweet. Such are our lives here on planet earth. Have Happy & Blessed Sherri with your loved ones! with love from across the pond! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Diane. Bittersweet is the word isn’t it? You too dear friend, much love and a very blessed, peaceful and joy-filled Easter to you and your wonderful family 🙂 xoxo

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  19. Beautiful Easter message, Sherri. Your dad loves you and you love your dad, I know because I could feel it as I read the blog. You have a wonderful way of writing that conveys heart felt messages to and for, all of us.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Donna, thanks so much for this, I’m very touched by what you share. That is the one thing that has always guided me through my life ‘without’ my dad – I’ve always known that he loves me. Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Easter filled with every blessing 🙂

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  20. Wow Sherri, this post has so many elements to it. I am so sorry about your father and what you have had to endure, it sounds like the love you feel for him has helped you cope the best one can cope. You are right about no one promising rose gardens! That’s an adorable story about your son on Easter. I hope you have a wonderful week with family. Happy Easter to you! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Maria, I appreciate your kind words very much. That is the one thing I’ve always known is that my dad loves me and I love him no matter what. Even when I’ve wanted to disown him at times!!!! Still, I wanted to end this on a good, happy note. Life’s rich pattern eh?
      You too, have a wonderful, joy-filled and very Happy Easter with your family 🙂

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  21. What a beautiful, powerful post this is, Sherri. Wonderful!
    From the light “Trip Advisor For Cons” to the sweet daughter remembering the Charlie perfume you would keep “forever and a lifetime,” the writing and details revealed the spirit of a woman and your heart as a girl. And then the mother whose young son could tell her what he’d learned: “He is risen!”
    You’ve written some lovely posts, but this one shows your deep talents and strong feelings better than anything I’ve read.
    Love and Easter blessings to you and your family, dear Sherri!

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Marylin, you are so kind, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I’m out of words, humbled and so touched by all you have written…
      Love and blessings to you and your family too, a very Happy Easter be it in your home my dear friend 🙂

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  22. Oh, Sherri, your amazing post is both heart warming and heart-wrenching in equal parts, I’m so sorry about your dad. The photo of the two of you is lovely. Of course you still love him…….he’s your dad, and whatever might happen in life, that special father/daughter bond remains very strong. I know that for a fact. Thanks for sharing your Easter memories so beautifully. Have a very special family time this weekend. Hugs and love to you.

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    • Sherri says:

      You are so right Sylvia, no matter what the love between my dad and I has never broken. It is a very strong bond indeed.
      Thank you so much for your beautiful, kind words, and I wish the very same for you too this weekend, a very Happy and joy-filled Easter weekend, for you and your lovely family and hugs and love right back to you too 🙂 x

      Like

  23. jenniferkmarsh says:

    Beautiful post, Sherri, in a rather downcast kind of way. Though, there is beauty in hardship and sorrow, all the same! Isn’t it wonderful how the simplest of things can make us burst with happiness and joy? Those few words from a child can do just the thing! I had an experience with a child in church a couple of weeks back, where he spoke about God, and the feelings I had..! Wow. Held the power to move mountains 😉

    Have a lovely Easter break, dear Sherri P! Many blessings to you 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, Jenny Jen Jen…yes, you are right, beauty in it all, life’s rich pattern. How lovely to have had that experience from a child at church. A true blessing that 🙂
      Thank you dear one, you too, a very Happy, blessed and joyous Easter weekend, filled with every good thing 🙂

      Like

  24. Another beautifully written post. I am so impressed by your ability to weave happy and heartbreaking memories into an uplifting post. Your writing is a testament to your spirit and character, and I am blessed to have followed your blog.

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    • Sherri says:

      Dear Diane, you are so kind, thank you so much, goodness, I’m really touched…I don’t know what to say! YOU bless me! Wishing you and yours a very Happy, joy-filled Easter and I’m looking forward to catching up with you very soon 🙂

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  25. Letizia says:

    This post reminds me that so many people in prison are just lost souls struggling with addiction. That photo of you and your father is so lovely. I’m glad you have some good memories of him growing up and have made some peace with such a difficult situation. Have a wonderful Easter!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Letizia, thanks so much and yes, you are so right about that. So many in prison with addictions and many, like my dad, become so institutionalized that they can’t cope ‘outside’. I do have many wonderful memories of my younger years with my dad and it is these which keep me strong in my relationship with him. That, and a good sense of humour!! Wishing you too a very Happy Easter 🙂

      Like

  26. Heyjude says:

    I can only echo what Jenny said as she has said it so eloquently. Christmas is my bitter-sweet time. Lots of life-changing events occurred around then. Funny isn’t it, how things happen around such times. Have a lovely Easter break, we’re off to Cornwall tomorrow, so I shall be absent for a while too – unless the broadband is better than last time!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well then Jude, I thank you very much and I would echo my response to Jenny to you too, I really would 🙂
      Oh how lovely, I hope you have a super time in Cornwall and manage to enjoy some lovely sunshine. So far so good…and if I don’t ‘see’ you around for a few days I’ll know why! Enjoy the break and look forward to catching up soon… 🙂 xx

      Like

  27. Glynis Jolly says:

    Your dad has his problems. That’s for sure. But he’s there for you as much as he can be. It’s obvious that you love him dearly. I with I had had the same with my father.

    Happy Easter Sherri 🙂

    Like

  28. This is a wonderful post Sherri – it was poignant and touching but there’s also joy in it. I was always a daddy’s girl and I get a real sense of your love for your dad. It’s a great picture and I so love that memory of your dad bringing you the freesias. You have so many great Easter memories to draw on Sherri, but that’s your gift of being able to draw us in to your world and make us laugh or cry.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Andrea, how kind and yes, I was very much a daddy’s girl! Glad to know that you were too, I remember reading some of your lovely memories of your family life! Despite everything, I’m blessed to have the good memories that I do have and I’m always so touched to know that I can openly share them here.
      Wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter and I’ll catch up with you soon… 🙂

      Like

  29. Happy Easter to you and your family, Sherri, and enjoy your time away from the blog. This was such a moving and compelling post to read. Your openness and candour, expressed with discretion and grace, are the sign of such strength of character. It’s a pleasure to get to know you through your blog.

    Like

  30. Sherri, that’s quite a in many ways touching story. Thanks for sharing and I wish you a very good week with family!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Mirjam, I very much appreciate that you read this. It really is great to meet you and to know that you read my blog, knowing all I share here, warts and all!! I’m really enjoying your blog and sharing our writing journey. Have a great Easter weekend 🙂

      Like

      • Well, I’m not much of an Easter celebrator. 😉 But thanks anyway!
        And I hope you had a great Easter weekend.
        I do celebrate another upcoming date in our country: May 5th.
        If you don’t know what it is, here’s a link about it on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_Day_(Netherlands)
        Thanks for visiting my blog. I really appreciate it!
        And I still am working on it to make it better and filling it with more content. 😉

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          We did thanks Mirjam. Interesting, thanks for the link, I didn’t know about this holiday. I love your country, I visited Amsterdam many years ago but would love to explore more of it and fully intend to!
          Your blog is coming along very well, you have some great content and it looks very professional and sharp. Keep going and you will be reap the benefits 🙂

          Like

  31. Lovely post, as usual, filled with so much that wraps around the heart. Happy Resurrection weekend, Sherri! I know it will be a delight. We’ll catch up next week. Blessings

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Bless you dear Susan, thank you so much. A blessed, peaceful and joy-filled Easter to you too and yes, I will be over to you next week to catch up… 🙂

      Like

  32. Andy Oldham says:

    What special memories! Love the pic with you and your dad!

    Like

  33. Pat says:

    Sherri, I’m glad these are happy times for you, my friend. The past can be bittersweet for us leaving us wonder, “Why?” Yet, without the tough times, it seems like we’d never evolve or grow.

    I remember a story Wayne Dyer (a motivational speaker) told about his alcoholic father that abandoned them. He said, as he stood over his father’s pauper grave behind a gas station shouting rage, he finally understood. Maybe, the only reason his father came to earth was to teach his son about forgiveness. That’s the main thing Jesus showed us.

    Happy Easter and many blessings to you and your family. I hope it’s full of love and happiness. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      That is so interesting what you share about Wayne Dyer, thanks so much Pat. Yes, perhaps that is what rage does, shows us that we need to learn forgiveness even when things don’t go as planned. That is a very powerful story indeed.
      You are so right about life’s tough lessons showing us the way to growth. I know that no experience is every wasted and to be able to share them here with one another, the good, the bad and the ugly, is a privilege.
      Bless you dear friend, your words always enlighten and bless me so much. May your Easter also be filled with love and happiness and I will catch up with you very soon. Until then…He is risen indeed 🙂

      Like

      • Pat says:

        Yes, Sherri, his story is powerful. I can remember him share it on tape with his voice cracking and it moved me when I heard it. If you ever get a chance to listen to some of his lectures, I hope you come across this story talking about his dad. I don’t know why I think it’s important to pass along, as I can only give you my take on it.

        He has two older brothers by, give or take, a couple of years. When he was first born and his mother had come home from the hospital with him, she had found his dad had left. His brothers were left alone with only a note. They were maybe 2 and 5 (I’m guessing but they were young).

        Over the years, he never saw or heard from him and had always wondered if he ever knew his name, the name of his son, or even cared. Things were tight and his mother tried to eek out a living to support them along with more lessons to learn on bad relationships. He and his brothers had to go into an orphanage. As much as he tried to track his father down, he could never find him. He wanted to know why he left. The anger and rage grew over the years where he would wake up drenched in sweat from dreams of his dad.

        Well into his adult years now, he finally heard from a family member that his dad had died and was buried behind a gas station (if I recall correctly). His death was 10 years prior to when he found out. He tracked down the remote location and stood over the plotted area with a metal marker bearing his father’s name.

        All the rage came to a head and he shook, as he shouted and yelled in anger all the things he had held in and wanted to say to his dad. Finally, after a couple of hours of rage, he broke down and cried. That’s when the cleansing came and forgiveness rose to replace the rage for so many years.

        From that moment on, whenever he would think of his dad, it would be to send him love and blessings. The rage was gone. I guess that’s why, when he wondered why he had an alcoholic dad like that, he thinks perhaps his purpose was to teach his son how to forgive and teach it to others.

        I hope you don’t mind me recounting my memories of Wayne Dyer’s story of his dad. It seemed important, especially given this special Easter holiday and it’s message, when we’re celebrating with family. Hugs across the pond, my friend. 🙂

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Thank you so much for sharing Wayne’s story in depth Pat, a powerful one at that and yes, he certainly was able to come to that place of forgiveness with God’s help. He would have felt so abandoned by his father and that is something which I’ve struggled with at time, although obviously in my case for the first 10 years of my life I had a happy home life with my mum and dad but my heart was broken when my mum left my dad. I was a daddy’s girl and missed my dad desperately.

        The anger I felt in later years came in short waves when he refused all help, which has been offered to him in abundance by many people, and when he continued to drink when he had so much to live for. I had to come to terms with the fact that he loved booze more than me or my brother, and that was the way it was. Over the years, as he got older, he had nowhere else to turn and so used it to get back into prison. Prison has saved his life on numerous occasions. I wish my dad had been in my life in the ways a father should be.
        I shouldn’t have had to be the one chasing him, trying to get him help. He should have helped me, as his daughter, when I needed it, but he was never there. It is God’s mercy and faithfulness and my turning to Him in my early twenties which saved me and enabled me to overcome the hurt in my heart so that, as the years went by, I was able to love my dad unconditionally, knowing he would never be the father I wanted him to be.

        I hope you had a blessed Easter my friend, and sending love and hugs right back to you, and thanks again for taking the time to share all that you have with me, bless you dear one 🙂

        Like

  34. Kristin says:

    Oh, what a beautiful post, Sherri! And beautiful photographs, too.
    Wishing you a Happy Easter, enjoy being with your family! xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Kristin, and I will be over to you soon to catch up! Have a wonderful Easter weekend with your loved ones and especially your darling little boy 🙂 xx

      Like

  35. OMG.
    OMG.
    What a story, Sherri.
    The part about your father blew me away enough.
    I don’t feel worthy to say more but all my love this Easter,

    D.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…bless you dear Diana and thank you my friend 🙂 Hoping you and your lovely family had a wonderful Easter, with my love coming back to you … 🙂

      Like

  36. So very delightful to read Sherri! Have a beautiful Easter dear one!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Such a delight to hear from you Wendell, bless you my dear friend, thank you and I hope that you and your family had a joy-filled, blessed Easter 🙂

      Like

  37. Happy Easter, Sherri.
    And thank you for this post.
    Your Strength and Grace is so inspiring.
    Best wishes, Emma x.

    Like

  38. y. prior says:

    Wow – nice share. 🙂
    and well I also liked your flower photos – and the poppies are so beautiful.
    also, when they were searching for Laci, I was on a road trip from San Jose to Kong Beach (to see my Aunt for the weekend) and I remember “MISSING” flyers were everywhere – even in this one little ol’ gas station in Los Banos – and well, this story riveted a nation for a good chunk of time. so sad!

    anyhow, looks like prison preserved your dad’s life in a way – and thanks for sharing. 🙂

    loved this –
    “then the strength of all that is good and right takes hold of my heart….” (He is risen indeed)
    and may His joy and peace be with you today and this coming week (and always of course ;).
    See you next week.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Y, I’m so glad you enjoyed the flower pics 🙂
      Yes, the tragic story of Laci Peterson was followed for so long. I remember thinking at the start of it that it had to be her husband…the memories of that time are still very strong aren’t they?
      You are so right about my dad, prison has actually saved his life. He doesn’t drink in prison and I feel much better knowing he is ‘safe’ and all his needs are met which, when he gets out and starts drinking again, is just not the case. Of course, the older he gets, the more I worry about him when he gets out….
      Blessings, joy and peace be yours too my friend, and I hope that you had a truly wonderful Easter weekend 🙂

      Like

  39. Pingback: Love And Peace This Easter | Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom

  40. Happy Easter Sherri, and more power to you! What is your father doing in prison at his age? When I think of all the real criminals who go scot free, the Pinochets and Berlusconis of this world, because they are ‘too old’ for prison it makes my blood boil. Enjoy they family, you’re lucky to have them 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Jane, I hope you had a Happy Easter too 🙂
      Yes, it is crazy. ‘They’ don’t know what else to do with my dad, he refuses to live with family or go to a care home and the half-way houses they provide are just not adequate. It’s a problem which gets worse the older he gets…but at least in prison he is ‘looked after’.

      Like

  41. Pat says:

    You’re welcome, Sherri, in passing along Wayne Dyer’s story and hope you had a blessed Easter with family and friends. I can only imagine the heartbreak you feel in the relationship you have with your dad and I can empathize. It’s hard letting go when you want so much more for them.

    Thank you for sharing him with us. 🙂

    Like

  42. thirdhandart says:

    Wow, Easter brings back numerous life altering memories for you Sherri! And, you wove them all together with such finesse.
    The photo of you and your dad is simply wonderful… your love for each other is thoroughly evident. And, the flower photos are so beautiful! Love the little photo of Eldest son & Bonnie… puppies and babies always get to me. Glad Bonnie survived after eating all the Easter chocolate.
    Hope that you had a lovely Easter holiday with your family this past weekend. Looking forward to hearing about your son’s trip to California.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Theresa. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading and also the pics. I was so worried about Bonnie but she was absolutely fine thank goodness!!
      We did have a lovely Easter thank you, and I hope you did too, enjoying some nice spring sunshine I hope.
      Have a good week ahead 🙂

      Like

  43. restlessjo says:

    I come woefully late to this one, Sherri. I kept wondering what your Dad had done to wind up in prison. Petty crime to finance the drink, or disorderly behaviour? I was going to say what a sad old life but maybe he wasn’t unhappy. But the damage inflicted… that’s a different story.
    You are a survivor, hon, aren’t you? It may be a case of having to be.
    Love your Californian poppies! 🙂 Hugs!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jo, I’m very late catching up myself. I’m glad we caught up though on yesterday’s walk!

      My dad’s drinking got out of control after my mum left him when I was 10 years old in the late 60’s. He started getting into trouble, brawling, arrested for drunk and disorderly, then stealing, lost his job, crashed his car, lost his licence and went downhill from there, losing everything and lurching from one crime to another.

      His big one though was when he was done for GBH. He was a different man with the whiskey inside him. As he grew older he became less violent (he was never violent with me, I hasten to add, otherwise things would have been very different, and I never witnessed it, other than when he took a drunken swing at one of my boyfriends once and missed…)

      As he got older his crimes have been just as you’ve sussed out, attempts to rob a bank or post office to get money for drink but he never got far with it. He never wanted to change his life and yes, he has inflicted an awful lot of damage along the way. I came to accept him for the way he is a long time ago, knowing he would never be the dad I so much wanted him to be. Now he is 81, prison has no doubt saved him and I feel a great sadness that he wasted his life.

      Thanks so much Jo for taking the time to read this, I know it’s a bit hard hitting but I hope I was able to end on a positive, happy note, that no matter what, there is always hope and that I have much to be thankful for. Not least of all, lovely blogging friends like you!

      So glad you enjoyed the poppies 🙂 Feeling those hugs, thanks so much, and right back to you too… 🙂

      Like

  44. julie says:

    Sherri, our dads are always ‘our dads’ nothing will change that. I chat to mine in my head and at the cemetery, and he will always remain an important part of my life, and it sounds like you feel the same about yours 🙂

    Like

  45. Wow, this is so powerful, Sherri!
    You have overcome so many life-altering challenges. You have also shown your dad unconditional love – God’s kind of love. You’re a good daughter. God bless you.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I appreciate your kind words very much Bill, thank you so much. It’s God’s saving grace and mercy that has shown me the way to unconditional love for my dad, I can’t see any other way. God bless you too Bill.

      Like

  46. Steven says:

    Hellooo, well, I got here eventually. *Casual swing of umbrella* Oh wait that’s your routine, isn’t it?

    Lovely photo with your dad, and a very novel conversation… it is clear that your bond, though likely challenged at times, hasn’t withered, and how much you still both need each other. He’ll always be your old man!

    I do have to come to the part about your dog eating the Easter eggs. Our dog did the very same thing, when I was about 15! My parents came down on Easter Sunday to find packaging of about a dozen eggs strewn across the floor, and a guilty dog sitting amongst it all… and of course they (and I) were very worried aswell. It didn’t harm him one bit, although my siblings, who of course were much younger, were very cross with him! I believe he also fancied my brother’s selection box one Christmas later on, and again was unaffected.

    I hope that Sherri Poppins and the Summerhouse Crew (your band name) had a wonderful Easter. 🙂

    Like

  47. Sherri says:

    Oh J G, so good to see you back and I now have an image of Gene Kelly swinging his brolly in Singing in the Rain when I think of your ‘casual swing of the umbrella’ 🙂 I would be flying in anyway, magical powers and all that…
    Ahh, thanks – yes, he is my old man and always will be no matter what…
    Oh no! That’s incredible that your dog did the same thing with the Easter eggs, and survived too! Maybe it’s all a lie about chocolate harming them?? Bonnie also got to an entire leg of lamb once too (always Easter!!) but of course the only harm done then was to us who didn’t have our dinner…grrrrrrr..
    A lovely Easter thank you with the Summerhouse Crew (love that!!!) and I really hope you did too JG and got lots of lovely Easter eggs… 🙂
    PS Sherri P and the Summerhouse Crew – get your keyboard out JG 😉

    Like

    • Steven says:

      Ha! Apparently, my grandmother once made a nice meat patty, pastry and everything, for mother. She made the mistake of leaving it on the kitchen work surface… came back, the plate was absolutely spotless. “What have you done with the meat patty?” she asked mumsey. 😛 Karl sits there like butter wouldn’t melt…

      Only the one Easter egg, actually. How many did you get…?

      Ha! All these summerhouse comments, I am obviously far more obsessed with this thing than I even realise. I must just be jealous that I don’t have room for one of my own… I have a shed, if that counts. ‘A View from My Shed’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, though.

      Like

      • Sherri says:

        Haha, A View From My Shed’ eh? Hmm..well, it doesn’t have a certain ring to it, kind of, well, okay, moving swiftly on…..
        I only had one Easter egg too, but that’s the norm, I’m not mad about them for some strange reason, I used to like the old fashioned ones with the sweets in the middle, remember them?
        Sure that the patty was enjoyed very much by a certain someone… 😉
        Have a great weekend JG, I’m quite exhausted after this week’s high jinks and shenanigans… 🙂

        Like

  48. Imelda says:

    Thank you for sharing your story – especially your father-daughter story. Your father has his failings, but he loves you tenderly. That counts a lot. And I so admire you as well for being a loving and forgiving daughter.

    And on a less serious note, you are not the only one on catch-up mode. It seems that I am perpetually in one, too. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Imelda for your very kind and loving words, it means a lot to me…

      Yes, I do know just what you mean, seems to be perpetual at the moment… the price to be paid for taking some, but very necessary, time off… 🙂

      Like

  49. This post, Sherri, could only bring tears and also smiles to all of us. It is a very personal and deeply moving story to share. I can only imagine what it means to have a father being bars. You manage to make of him a good person despite his terrible flaws. Love can come in so many surprising ways. I wish you and your dad the best. Peace.

    Like

  50. A beautiful inspiring Easter post. Thanks for sharing your son’s wonderful, uplifting childhood Easter story. Children has so much to teach us. Their perspective of the events around them and the things they learn are pure, innocent and full of positivity. Reading your post brought me lots of reasons to smile. God bless and wishing you and your family all the best in everything.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much IT, I am so glad that you were uplifted by my younger son’s story, just one of my many personal favourites for obvious reasons 🙂 Isn’t it so true, our children’s perspectives change our very world, their innocence, joy and purity cause our hard hearts to melt in an instant! I am so very greatly blessed to know that this post made you smile at the end, you bless me greatly my friend, and God bless you and your family in all things, today and every day… 🙂

      Like

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