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I see him smile. I hear his deep baritone voice as he sings silly songs around the house. I don’t feel his hugs, but I feel his presence. With him, it is okay to be myself. The parts of me that Mom says are too much. The fast talking, dramatic, busy kid is finally at home and this must be what it feels like to breathe for the first time. Big deep gulps of air rushes into my very being. Yes, home. He encourages my curiosity and gives me projects to finish or fix. He lets me eat all the good candy, and “sneaks” me sips from his Mountain Dew can. When I leave visits from Grandma and Grandpa’s, I believe I can do anything. To them, I am special. From them, I know love.
My constant, loving, safe, warm, kind Grandpa was here, and then he wasn’t. Just like that, but it has never felt “just like that”. Memories fade out and back in. He spoke to everyone, and when he talked to you, he talked only to you and when he listened to you… that was magic. The sparkle in his eyes when the topic interested him; constantly wanting to learn and know more. That was the fun of life and the very meaning.
Once, his neighbors didn’t have a car to go Christmas shopping. The neighbor was a single Mom with two kids. I liked the kids, but the Mom was off. Grandpa let them borrow his car. I still think about that. Maybe he didn’t feel the same way about the Mom that I did. Maybe he didn’t see the warning signs that something just wasn’t right about her. Or maybe he knew that lady just needed a little bit of kindness. They brought the car back later, and those kids looked at my Grandpa like a hero from then on. The little boy came to his funeral. I have long since forgotten his name. My Grandpa was the only male figure in his life. Grandpa taught him to mow, and gave him small chores to do for money. My Grandpa was also his.
It is these little memories that creep in that I take comfort. 27 years later I feel as if he’s always teaching and guiding me. Would I let a near stranger borrow my car? I wouldn’t. I know I wouldn’t, and that lets me know I have more miles to go. 16 years with him. It doesn’t feel like long enough, yet those years were so full to bursting. So much more fuller than the following ones.
To have a love like that, and then to lose it. To write these things is to remember. To remember that I can be better. That I was once worthy of his smiles and love. To be ashamed that I strayed so far from the person I am. And to know that he would still love me despite it all. I am humbled by that love to this day.
One of my teenage crushes when I was age 15. He was from Canada. I met him one year when my family travelled
to Ontario to spend a week with my relatives. We were the same age. I have very fond memories of going to the county fair and holding hands and going on the Ferris wheel. Over the years we kept in touch off and on
since his family was close to my relatives. I miss him and was very sad when I learned he had passed away. I had hoped to some day have a mini reunion at my relatives in up state NY.
So many that I am grateful to have had in my life and who will always have a place in my heart. To my mother for the gift of life, for the care she had for us and for everything she did and gave from her heart for her children so that we would be better off than she was. The art teacher D.J., who, full of joy and love for art, who introduced us to so many approaches and techniques of artistic creation; Alf, who professionally taught us everything he could, full of enthusiasm and dedication, passing on his experience for the good of all, to name but a few. May they rest in peace. May they all be safe and held in His love.
My friend Dorothy. I only knew her for a few years. She was 30 years older than me, but we conversed so easily. I miss her wisdom, humor, and straightforward talk.
I miss my grandmother, who loved me unconditionally.
Regrettably, there have been many
good friends and family that have
passed, and I am grateful for all of them.
They have all left me with something.
When I think about them,
I think about their qualities that I
would like to emulate in my
life. Their humor, calmness, dedication,
friendliness, sense of community,
toughness, the list goes on and on.
The fact that they are gone and I’m
here, gives me a sense of purpose.
Both of my parents, who gave me so many gifts of loving care and security. My mom in particular formed a large part of how I approach life, which has shaped my career path along with everything else. (I wrote about some of that here http://biketoworkbarb.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-i-came-to-be-bike-advocate.html)
One of my brothers who had such a gift of friendship, always widening the circle of people who loved and knew him, never choosing people because they were “somebody” or important. He was an artist and musician, an eternal child in a way because he always had that spirit of adventure, that willingness to try something new because it might be fun.
My maternal grandmother, who taught me to knit, tat, and bowl and who always had “Grandma cookies” at her house (those waffle cookies that come in brown and yellow and pink with a cream filling–not homemade but they were special because I only had them when we visited her). She was so sweet and had a great laugh.
A woman friend who died far too young, of the same brain cancer her mother had died of. I went back and reread the blog post I wrote at the time to remember how we became friends and what she inspired. That was many years ago. Thank you for this question so I could think about these beloved people again.
The first to come to mind was my mentor of 27 years. I rightfully call him my Moses. And always, I think of my ancestors and I always claim their strength when facing challenging emotional and physical situations. Three dear female friends who were there for me and helped me find my way in 1995 when my whole life imploded. They are no longer in my life but I think of them often. I am grateful for my ex-husband (RIP) who was the father of my two precious children. And many folks who may still be alive but are no longer in touch also make me grateful for having known them.
I am grateful to each and every one who was present in my life. My maternal grandmother was highly present in my life. My mother, her daughter, died when I was 21 months old and my brother 9. As an adult, I appreciate her strength and compassion to step in that role. She also had 3 sons in the military. I can only imagine the worry and stress she endured. Thank you, grandma.
At this age (71)…there have been many –my Mom, Loretta, who died when I was 14,- what can you say about a Mom…the greatest gift one is every given, an artist friend..Dick Peterson…my brother who passed away almosst 2 years ago, a great physician friend, Frank who I worked with in Somalia, a nurse colleague, Vinny- who taught me to really laugh…my friend, Marilyn who had a hard life..we supported each other in manyy ways during the years…she finally is at peace. People come into our lives to teach us things…too help us get through a rough time…to love us…and then they are gone. May we all meet again some day. Thanking those who give us our Daily questions…thank you for reminding me of those who live within me. Blessing to all on this fine June day.
Nannette, Thanks for your thought provoking and inspirational post.
Nanette, thank you for the lovely phrase “…for those who live within me.” I am a little piece of each one.
My brother, Tom died all too soon in May, 2011. He contracted acute myeloma leukemia, probably as a result of working in Manhattan on 9/ 11 & the days following. As he moved valiantly through challenging treatments til nothing more could be done, I was amazed at his heroic gratitude expressed in so many ways to each family member. In Tom’s memory, I began going to this site daily in an effort to live more gratefully the good life I have. Just recently I came upon this group. Our shared daily reflections continue to deepen my gratitude.
Thanks, Tom, for your extraordinary example. May you continue to RIP. 🕊
Josie, Reading your post, I felt your dear brother Tom’s presence. He definitely lives on in you. Sincerely, Carol
Thank you for this reminder, Carol.
My greart-grandma Jewel, my Papaw, Grandma M, Grandma G, and my sweet soul kitties Buddy the Wonder Cat and BC, my sweet boy who passed earlier this year.
My youngest brother Michael. He was fourth born, of six. He left the planet 9/24/02 by his own hands at the age of 42. I was 4 when our mother died, Michael was one. He had some struggles with that when he was about 35. He also struggled with alcohol throughout his life. He had begun drinking again several years before he died. He left behind my sister-in-law and a 17-year-old daughter. I am close as you can be living 1000 miles apart with each of them. We spent many hours of our youth together and I agree with my younger brother David that at times he was one of the most entertaining people I have ever known. Flat out funny. RIP Michael.
A beautiful tribute to the essence of who David was, Joseph. May David rest in peace, deepening your own peace.🕊
My mother. I miss her laugh, her common sense, her groundedness, her presence.
A close friend died unexpectedly in January. She was a delight to be around. Always had a smile and a kind word for everyone she met, with a treasury of one liners that kept me laughing and a compassionate heart when I needed to talk.
Many people. Those who have had the most profound influence in my life are my dear Mom, Dad and my brother, Kevin. Blessings to all. 🙏💞🧘♀️🌈
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