dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Good-bye Dear Friend…

Each person has a ‘first’ friend.  Those childhood friends who are neighbors or children of family friends, but there is a connection to somehow make you friends.

My first friend lived close by.  I would go out our back door, walk by the neighbor behind us, cross an alley, and end up at the bottom of the steps of her house.  We didn’t knock on the door and ask politely if they could come out to play.  No, I stood at the bottom of the steps and hollered, “Hey Peggy!”  Several times, if necessary, until she either came out or her Mom or older siblings came out to let me know she couldn’t play.  She would yell at my door also, “Hey Cathi!”.    It was a crude way to begin play, but it worked.

Peggy and I loved being together.  We played on her swing set (it is where I learned to flip myself over the bars), or we would catch butterflies or bees in jars, or we would roam the neighborhood, making certain we ran past that scary house on the corner because we just knew a wicked witch lived inside.    It was heaven.

My family moved in August before my first grade year.  Peggy was no longer in walking distance and the shouting from each other stopped.  We went to the same elementary school, but, her last name began with a “C” and mine with an “M”, so we weren’t always in the same classroom.    We played on the same basketball team and she came to my birthday parties, but, it wasn’t the same.  We went to different high schools and lost track of one another.

Years later, when we both had two daughters who were mostly grown, we met up at our husband’s class reunion.  Hubby and I had gone with our forever friends and everyone found someone to talk with.  Everyone, but me.  My friend, noticing me standing alone not talking with anyone, came over and pointed out that Peggy was also standing alone, talking to no one.  I went over.   Instantly, it was like we were once more roaming the neighborhood talking and sharing with one another.  It was the best!  We took some pictures together and a piece of my heart was put back in place.

Thankful for Facebook, we messaged each other, sharing our lives and pictures of our girls, and grandchildren.   She talked about her daughters and how proud she was of them.  I got to know them through our talks.  I heard about her grandchildren and smiled and laughed with her as she shared her stories about them.  We always said that everything we learned about friends happened in kindergarten and somehow we knew our hearts were joined in friendship there.

Two years ago I realized that I hadn’t heard from Peggy in a few weeks.  I wrote her and let her know she was on my mind.  I asked her how she was.  Her answer was like a punch in the stomach for me.  She told me she had ovarian cancer.  I swallowed hard and tried to write something positive to her and I closed out Facebook and sobbed.  Her news hit me hard.  She told me her dates of chemo and I put each one on my calendar in my phone, so I would remember and know to pray for her.  I knew I couldn’t be with her, but, I felt that if I could pray for her during those times, I would be doing something at least.

In July of 2016 she wrote that she was cancer free!  I rejoiced!  I was so very happy and thrilled.  She even talked about possibly coming to visit, asking which airport was closest to me.  I started to imagine sitting on my screen porch visiting with her, watching the lightning bugs flicker in the night sky and us laughing together, sharing stories of daughters and grandchildren.  They were happy thoughts for me.

Four months later she wrote to tell me her cancer was back.  She would undergo more chemo and testing until she couldn’t anymore.  In between, her youngest got married and she was able  to be there with them and celebrate.  The pictures were lovely and I was so happy for her.

The past few months have been a time of travel to hospitals only to receive news that was not good.  She passed away this past Sunday.  Her daughter called to tell me.  When I saw her daughter’s name on my phone, my heart sank.  I knew it was not going to be a good call.

I heard this beautiful voice on the other end of my phone.  I heard the tears.  My heart broke.   Peggy was such a dear person.  She saw the best in me and made me laugh.  We had been friends most of our lives and I knew there would be a void in my life when she went.  But, my void would be nothing like what her family now has.  Their Mom, his wife, was gone.  I know that words cannot heal that hurt.  Words cannot fill the spaces that used to be filled with her laughter.  Words cannot replace the ‘looks’ that only a Mom, Wife and Grandmother can give.

But, for me, I had to write about her.  She will be remembered.  People will get a glimpse of this person.  This person who used to holler for me.  This person who once challenged me to pick up a snake(I couldn’t) or catch a bee in my bare hand(I did).  The one who had the mumps and I got to play with her daily in hopes that I would catch the mumps and get it over with.  I never caught the mumps….

So, good-bye dear friend.  I miss you already.  I will miss our late night chats on Facebook.  I will miss hearing about your news and your family.  I know you are now pain-free.  You are able to be as free as we were as children.  Rest well, you have fought the brave fight and you taught me how to live.

Thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)

 

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Beneath the Irises

I usually take each post I write and share it on my Facebook pages.  This one I will not as I have already posted a picture and most of my friends know what this post will be about.

Beneath the irises, under the dirt, wrapped in a blanket with a favorite toy lies our dear puppy.    I knew I would write this post and it is one that I have dreaded.

In July of 2015 our puppy got sick.  He was so ill that we had to carry him inside and out.  We had just moved and hadn’t decided on a veterinarian.  I went online, looking up local animal hospitals, reading reviews and hoping I would find the right one.  We did.  We took our puppy in, fearing the worst.  They admitted him and gave us the diagnosis.  The vet looked at us upon his discharge and said, “I wish I could give you good news.  But, he could live for the next two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years.”  With that, we brought him home determined to love him however long we had.

Two hours passed, as did the weeks and the months.  Each day we woke up and listened to see if he stirred.  His hearing left him.  He could not hear us talking to him, but, that did not stop us from talking to him.

Eventually his eyesight started to go.  His balance was bad.  But, still he clung to us and to his life.

I said good-bye to him several times this past year.  Each time believing that he would be gone when I saw him again.  Each morning he greeted us with a slight wag of his tail and his precious face.

Last week he was struggling.  He would fall down the steps going outside.  He would fall up the steps trying to get back inside.  We knew it was time and yet it was still a struggle for us.

We made the decision last Friday that we would take him to the vet for his last visit.  Hubby walked him around outside and I went in to check him in and to do what needed to be done.   It was a very hard thing to do, but, he was ready.

We went into the examining room with a vet and tech that were so very kind.  Hubby and I stayed with our Shugo.  We did not want him to be alone.  We petted him and talked with him and thanked him for being our buddy.  They started the injection and he relaxed.  The anesthesia took effect.  The vet had to take the needle out as he discovered our poor buddy’s veins were too fragile.  They moved to another sturdier vein and continued.  We cried and petted him as he fell asleep.

We brought him home, wrapped him in his favorite blanket and put his favorite toy with him.  Together, hubby and I buried him.  I planted irises and paperwhites above him.  It is Shugo’s garden, nestled by our gazebo in among the trees.    I miss him.  I always will.

So, rest easy my friend.  We were prepared for this day and you gave us sixteen more months than what we thought we would have.  We could see you deteriorate and still you were a faithful friend.  Thank you for those extra months, I needed them.

You are now pain-free and able to hear and see and run wild.  Enjoy.

 Cathi (DAF)

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Mom…

Each year I end up writing something about my Mom.  Today is the anniversary of her death.  She was in her early forties when she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer.

I was eleven at the time, but, I still carry vivid memories of her.  I remember conversations and how she smelled and lots of things that have not been erased by time, fortunately.

I miss her often and each year I remember the day and what all happened, that, I think is a given whenever you lose someone you love.  But, this year, it’s not so much her personally I miss, but how many years it has been since she passed away.  50 years.  50 years she has been gone.  That’s a long time!  I cannot wrap my mind around how long it has been.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to remember 50 years.  But, I do.  When I think of this anniversary, my mind just remembers the 11-year-old and her sisters, all young.  Needless to say, we’re not.

When it occurred to me that she has been gone for fifty years, I started to wonder what she would think about life now.  How would she feel about her daughters being in different states and not seeing each other as much as we would like?  What would she think of our husbands?  I know she would share a beer or two with them, but would she like them?  What would she say and think about our kids, her grandchildren?  I am certain they could have done no wrong in her eyes.   Her great grand children?  Well, there is nothing better than they are, honestly.  So, there is no doubt she would have adored them.

Family is one thing to think about, but, this world has changed so much since 1966.  She once told me that one day we would talk on the phone and see each other.  I thought that was a wild dream.  This morning, I skyped with Little Miss and her Mom.  I got to see my granddaughter walk around, read a book, talk with me, eat a snack and wave to me.  We did ‘cheers’ her, with her sippy cup and me with my coffee cup.  Yes, Mom, we can talk to one another and see each other.  You would have loved that.

What type of phone would she have?  Would she have the latest and greatest?  Would she face time and text?  Would she have a twitter account?  Personally, I couldn’t imagine that. What would she think of television shows?  Who would be her favorite actor?  Would she be appalled that there are no western series on television?  She loved Rawhide and Wagon Train.

What would she think of the political climate? What would be her take on the issues in this country?

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind this past week. This has made me aware of the pace of the world today. Life truly was so much simpler fifty years ago.  Yes, there were riots then.  There were racial issues then.  There were wars going on.  Things were broadcast and it seemed fast then, since no other wars had reports given so quickly.  But, now, there is live streaming.  We are able to see events unfolding, for better or worse.

These are all things I will never know.  They will continue to plague my thinking.  I love the  “what if’s” in this life.   All I can be certain of is this, she left us too soon.  She missed so many of life’s treasured moments.  Three of her granddaughters have her name in some form.  Her fourth granddaughter has some of her fiesty-ness.  Her legacy continues in many ways.

Today I will continue to think of her, and my sisters.  We are strong women, all of us.  We love deeply, we think independently, we argue, we laugh, we cry.   I think she would be proud of us.      DAF (Cathi)

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Life Goes On…

This week saw news of celebrity deaths almost daily.  From my childhood the actor who played Grizzly Adams passed away.  Thought of Saturday evenings in my pajamas, freshly bathed and ready for church flashed through my mind.

David Bowie, my teen years, admiring his artistry, but, not really a fan.  But, his passing was sad.  Knowing that his music will never be fresh from his creativity.  I was saddened to hear that cancer took his life.

Alan Rickman, I will miss.  His characters were all people I either loved to hate, or I just loved.   I enjoyed the movies he made, and the characters he brought to life, he was a gifted actor and I am sad that I will no longer see new work from him.

All the families and friends of these people are in mourning.  We, as a public can read and feel some emotion and then go on with our lives.

Wednesday of this week there was another death I read about.  It is not one that was broadcast nationally.  I first found out on Facebook.  This death hit me hard and made me realize how very precious each life is.  The person who died was a two-year old boy.  I met his parents at a function this past fall.  They were in town from Michigan for a ministry they have started that raises funds for families hit by devastating illnesses.

We were relatively new to the community when we attended this evening.  We saw and met this couple and knew that they had children running around, but we actually did not know whose children were whose.  It was just a fun night.

Last month some friends from our church did a surprise trip to Michigan to see this couple.  They went up to celebrate the final adoption of a little boy this couple had fostered.  I looked at the pictures of this child.  There were smiles all around.  You just felt good looking at these pictures.  You knew it was a blessing in so many ways.

Wednesday afternoon this little boy was put down for a nap.  A nap he did not wake up from.  Today, I watched the funeral on a live stream.  Eloquent words were spoken, and emotions were obvious.   The parents were surrounded by people loving them, praying with them and supporting them.

I know they need all the support they can get now.  Their world is rocked to the core.  But, one thing was spoken during the service today that resonated deep within me.  One of the pastors stated that, and I know I will say it wrong, but basically he said, that this boy lived his whole life.  Even though his whole life was only two years.

He had lived his life.  His life touched people.  His life touched me and I just saw him one evening running around with several other children.  This got me thinking today, how much is my life touching others?

I started this post out talking about celebrities.  Their lives touched others though music, entertainment, movies.  They touched others in their personal lives.  Things we will never know about.  Their families too, are rocked to the core of their beings.   This little boy touched many people, all whom spoke and speak of his smile and his joy of life.

Life is precious.  Each day I am alive I realize a bit more how precious life is.  Since Wednesday all I have wanted to do is hug my grandchildren just to make certain they are okay.  I want to take time to chat with friends.  I want to make certain that, when it is time for me to meet the Lord that I will have touched and ministered to others who will be here.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading.  I do so appreciate it.  DAF

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Love… Until Death do we Part…

Today, good friends of ours are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I used to think that number was reserved to really old people… guess it’s not as old as I may have thought.  Ruthie and Neil are a wonderful couple.  I have known them for about 34 years now.  They have always been examples of love to me.

The first time I truly got to know them was when they invited hubby and I to their home for dinner.  They have two daughters who, at that time, were starting into their high school years.

Ruthie and Neil were youth leaders for the base we were living.  We wanted to help them and we thought that the dinner would be a time to get involved with what they were doing.  We had a lovely dinner and after dinner Neil excused himself from the table.  He returned with a large box of things.  He handed us the box and said, ” Here is the stuff for the youth group.  Good luck!  We promised our daughters that we would not be youth leaders when they got to be this age.  They need to be able to confide in someone not their Mom and Dad.  It is all yours.”   Hubby and I dumbfoundedly took the box and after a few more minutes of dessert and conversation, we left.  We ended up having a wonderful experience with the youth group and loved each moment we had with the youth in Maine.

That was just the first  lesson we received from Ruthie and Neil.  We learned that when our girls got to be high school age, that we needed to make certain they had other people to confide in, and learn from.

Through the years we have learned much from this couple.  They are examples of love.  They enjoy each other’s company.  They laugh together… often.  They pray together… often.  They are often there for others.    Our lives have been enriched by this couple.  We are so very thankful for them.

My prayer for them today is that this anniversary is just a stepping stone to a long and beautiful marriage.  They deserve the very best.

This is what I thought my post would be today.   I woke up thinking about Ruthie and Neil and this milestone in their lives.  On Facebook this morning there were several pictures of them.  There was one from their wedding.  It is a great picture and they both look radiant.  My heart was filled with joy for them.

I continued to scroll down on Facebook and came to a post from hubby’s cousin.  My heart stopped when I read her post.  I read and reread it.  With a lump in my throat I looked over at hubby and said, “Hap died.”   Two simple words that broke my heart a bit.  Hap was hubby’s cousin.  His proper name Harold, was never used, and his wife’s nickname is Pinkie.    Hap and Pinkie were just a couple of years older than hubby and I.  They were fun to be with and we loved when we could see them.  Hap loaned hubby his new car when I was a senior in high school.  It was the car hubby drove me to the prom in.  He took hubby’s beat up, but very cool opal home that night in May.  Hubby took me to the prom in a brand new sports car.  I had never ridden in anything so beautiful.

Through the years in family life, we spent hours with Hap and Pinkie.  Laughter was always present.  They, in many ways were like Neil and Ruthie to us, mentors.  They encouraged us and loved us.

In our youth we make vows to one another.  We love the best way we know how.  We struggle and strain and some times we are filled with lightness and laughter.  The vows we take with a carefree thought  while filled with youthful love are binding.  Today I see what those vows mean.  Ruthie and Neil are celebrating a milestone in their marriage.  Fifty years is remarkable today.  They are the exception to the rule.  They have stood by their vows and have done so in a fashion that is wonderful.  Hap and Pinkie stood by their vows too, they loved until death parted them this morning.

I sit and write this filled with emotions.  Joy and heartbreak.  Sometimes, that is what love is, isn’t it?  DAF

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It was 1966…

Christmas 1966 was a Christmas that will never be forgotten.  I was 11.  My life had forever changed three months before.  My family’s life had been forever altered three months before.  September 27th, 1966 my Mother died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  She was in her early 40’s.

Christmas came with the same gusto as it always does.  I don’t remember much about decorating or putting up our tree, it just seemed like normal.

When we awoke on Christmas morning, my younger sister and I went downstairs.  In the previous three months, my older sister had taken on adult responsibilities and somehow was no longer a little girl, but almost the matriarch of our family.  She was so young to assume such duties and responsibilities, but I know our Father leaned on her so much during those first years without Mom.

Christmas morning that year was incredible.  We had never had a Christmas with so much.  We never did after that.  This year the tree was overflowing with presents.  As an adult, I now realize my Dad was trying somehow to make things better for us, and buying lots of gifts was his way of trying to fix a grieving family.

There were 14 board games under the tree.  We got new coats, many sets of clothes, and I got my first pair of ice skates.  They were beautiful!  It was an overwhelming bounty to receive.

What is seared into my memory did not happen right on Christmas.  That day was void of my Mom’s presence, but, it was hidden with the excitement of the gifts we were given.

The real impact did not hit our family until New Year’s Eve a week later.  We always stayed up to see the New Year in.  We would have snacks, chips and dip, and a tradition of having kielbasa  (which I still have).  We went through the motions of celebrating the New Year.  When midnight struck we went out on the front porch to watch the fireworks being set off from the south side of town.  It was cold and snowy, but the four of us, my Dad, my sisters and myself did not notice the cold.  When the new year came in, we grieved as a family.  The passing into a new year was  a last good-bye to my Mom.  We knew there would never be another year with a current memory of her.  When 1967 arrived it meant any time we had with our Mother was gone.   The reality that she would never touch or see another year overcame us.  We stood on the porch huddled together and crying as a family.

The memory of that night haunts me.  It was a loving moment, but one that forever etched into my heart the harsh reality of death.  I know that experience has colored how I look at my family.    Family is a precious commodity.  They are frustrating and weird, but, they are the closest people you will ever have.  No one shares the same experiences or memories in the same way.

I hope this holiday season will have special bonding times for you.  Family times that are either with blood family or those families we have forged in friendship.  Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

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Heart Connections….

Our hearts are made to love others.  I don’t understand that capacity.  We meet people and before you know it, those people are no longer separate entities, but a very part of our own lives.  That is a heart connection.

This past week I have had to write to two separate friends offering some comfort in a death of someone they held dear.  One of the people I only knew in name, the other, I graduated from high school with.

Both deaths were sudden and unexpected.  It reminded me that people are here only briefly.  Memories are wonderful things to cherish. 

The woman I graduated with died while taking out her trash.  She had a heart attack and collapsed on the sidewalk beside her trash can.  A passing neighbor tried to revive her and couldn’t.  Her life was gone.  Since I am an admin for the class page on Facebook, I posted the announcement of her passing and then opened up the page for memories of time spent with her.  At last count there were over 250 people who saw the announcement and most of them remembered something about her.

I often tease my family and close friends that when I do something stupid or laugh-worthy, I have done it because I want them to remember me with laughter.  I want laughter to be a major memory of what I leave behind. 

Reading the memories of people the past couple days has only confirmed this thought in me.  Every few comments on the Facebook page has mentioned this woman’s laugh.  They mention her kindness, and the joy she brought.  I didn’t know her well, and I think I may have missed out on some happiness.  I know she brought happiness to many.  This is a good legacy.

Both of my friends are dealing with grief and sadness.  It is hard to see them through this season.  I know their hearts are hurting. 

When a loved one dies, I do think a part of our heart goes with them.  It makes it easier when it is our time to pass, as we will be rejoined with the other parts of our heart and the One who made our heart beat in the first place.

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” (John 14:1-4. The Message)

Thanks for stopping by today.  I love your visits.   DAF

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Fathers

Tomorrow is Father’s Day as I write this.  I have thought of my father all day long as I have seen people post pictures of their Dads on Facebook.  It is a touching tribute and one I wish I could do.  But, I have no pictures on my computer of him and did not think to scan one in before tonight.

My father was a second generation American.  He was an Irishman.  He had a great sense of humor, he loved a good story and he loved to drink.  I loved spending time with him, at times.  Sometimes he did not want to be around people.  He wanted his space and his time alone.  He could be an enigma at times.

What I have really thought of since his death is the person he was. He worked hard and had his share of trials at his workplace.  He remained loyal to those he worked for until his retirement.  He loved his city.  Was proud of his city.

When I was young he would wake me up early and we would go for walks.  We would talk about anything that came to mind.  Those are some of my fondest memories.  We would walk along the hills in town and see the wildflowers growing, we would watch the river flowing.  During those times he would talk of his life as a young man.

He carried papers to earn money during the depression years.  I have two pictures in my guest room that were my Grandmother’s.  My dad saved the money he earned with his paper route to buy them for her.  They are in the original frames and every time I look at them, my heart is filled with love.

He was beside my Mom while she battled pancreatic cancer.  He was 41 when she lost her battle with cancer.  I can only imagine what he was thinking and feeling at that point.  He became the sole parent to three daughters, 15, 11, and 9.  The fear and uncertainty he must have felt, must have been incredible.  But, raise us, he did.

He died suddenly in 1993.  His death happened so quickly, that I could not wrap my mind around his death.  For years I would think of calling him to tell him about something I did or something my daughters had done or experienced.

A dear friend of mine who was beside me when I heard news of his passing told me, “As adults we think of our parents as our Mother and Father, but when they die, they once more become Mommy and Daddy.”  That touched my heart as the news of my Daddy’s passing started to creep its way into my conscience.

It has been years since I have had a parent to talk with or visit with.  One by one I have seen my friends lose their Fathers.  I know the pain they are experiencing at that time, although words fail to bring comfort or security.

Psalm 68:4-6 (New Living Translation) states: ” 4 Sing praises to God and to his name!     Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord—     rejoice in his presence!

5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—     this is God, whose dwelling is holy. 6 God places the lonely in families;     he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

I read this psalm shortly after getting home after my Father’s memorial service.  I had read it several times before, but it never touched my heart like it did that time.   In the time of my grief, my Heavenly Father assured me that I was not alone.

So, on Father’s Day, I remember my Dad.  He may have had his flaws, but he is the man chosen to raise me as best he could.  I am grateful for the time I had with him.  I cherish the memories of him.

On Father’s Day tomorrow, I will celebrate with my dear hubby.  He blessed me with two beautiful daughters and as best he could, along with me, we raised them.  I hope in years to come my daughters will think of their Dad with the love and understanding that I have for my Dad this day.

Thanks for stopping by.  It means the world to me, DAF

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In A Moment

I have often thought of writing this post, and I have often thought of not writing on this subject.  It is a conflict within me and after doing battle in my mind I lost and here I go.

46 years ago today there was a very simple moment in my life.  It was 7:28 a.m..  A Tuesday.  I was in the sixth grade.  My sister sleeping beside me was in the fourth grade.  At 7:28 a.m. my alarm went off.  I reached over to turn off the alarm on my pink acrylic alarm clock.  I opened my eyes to a somewhat darkened room and heard voices downstairs in the kitchen.  The voices were familiar ones, but the activity of several voices and movement on a Tuesday morning was unusual.

As I turned off my alarm my older sister calmly said, “Dad, they’re awake.”  I looked at my sister and she said, “Stay in bed, you won’t be going to school today.”  The next moment, my Dad was sitting on our bed.  He looked at my sister and me and said in a tone I will never forget, “Mom died last night.”

My younger sister immediately started crying.  Honestly, I can’t remember if I did or if it was delayed by a couple of seconds.  What I do remember is a combination of thoughts crossing my young mind, one being, “That’s a cruel joke to play on us…”  the other, “Of course she died, I knew she was going to for the past couple weeks.”

I was home sick the day six months before when my Mom had come home from a doctor’s appointment and told my Dad that she would have to have surgery.  The surgery was a new and scary thing as only really old or really sick people had surgery back then.  That began a six month season of our family that would forever change the dynamic of who we were.

During the surgery, my Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She was given six months to live.  That was in March of 1966.  46 years ago today, her six months ended.  My parents told my older sister about the diagnosis.  A tough thing to handle for a 15-year-old.  A heavy burden to carry for six months.  Her childhood ended abruptly, she had no time to be a teenager, as she was immediately given a role no child should have to handle.  The decision to keep my younger sister and myself free from the reality of what was going on was made at some point and so we had six months of watching our Mother become a mere shadow of her former self, never truly knowing what was going on.  Thus, the moment that changed my life.

The next few days following this date 46 years ago were a blur and actually some of my fondest memories.  I remember being able to look closely at my cousins’ rooms while they were at college/and/or in the military.  That was a treat. It was like entering the inner sanctum of areas normally forbidden to curious young people.  Those days also remind me of making chocolate chip cookies at another aunt’s home.  She allowed my sisters and me into her immaculate kitchen to make cookies.  I remember my older sister did not think salt belonged in a cookie recipe and left it out.  My aunt picked up on it immediately.  (Each time I add salt to cookies now, I remember her with a smile).  I think of another aunt who convinced the older women in the millinery shop that the hats she was buying for her nieces for her sister’s funeral should not cost as much as they were marked.  She got a deal on three hats for my sisters and I.  Being of Irish and Scottish descent, we had a wake.  I remember my sisters and cousins each scamming different uncles for money during the wake so we all could hit the local grocery store for candies and ice cream.  I am certain that little store had one of it’s best business days in months from my family.  I mostly remember the outpouring of love from family, friends and neighbors.  That made the biggest impression on my young mind.

Loss of a parent is a unique and hard experience.  To me, loosing a parent at such a young age was something that just happened.  It did not physically scar me, but it did define me.  That definition still continues.  I do not have the physical example of what or what not to be.  When my daughters turned eleven, I told them that I had no experience of what a mother was supposed to do after that time.  I told them that I would wing it and hopefully they would survive to adulthood.  With the help of the Lord, they did survive and flourish.  Now, I just imagine what my Mother would have been like, and wonder what kind of relationship we would have had as I grew.

Moments can change you at any time.  Moments can rob us, or bless us.  Moments can make us forever victims or we can grow from moments.  I am grateful for my Dad and especially my older sister who refused to let my sister and me become forever victims.  Life it much too precious to stay in the past reliving hard miserable times.  Life is now.  It is a crisp apple begging to be picked and eaten.  It is a bright autumn day inviting you to walk around and breathe in fresh air.  Life is now.

Today I remember.  Today I miss.  Today I will get hold of my sisters and we will reaffirm our love for one another.  But, most of all today I will live my life.  I will walk the dog, I will do the dishes, make the bed and live.  I will praise my Creator for my family, for my daughters, for my son-in-law and most of all for my precious grandson.  I will thank our Lord for allowing me to see all of this and be here.   He is an awesome God who has looked out for me and kept me able to live a full life, remembering, but never a victim.

One day, I hope, we will see a cure for this horrible disease.  A cure so that sometime in the future a moment in time won’t forever change another young life.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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