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A Fond Farewell

I’m not very good with death.  In fact, I’m not good at all with it.  I can’t cope with the thought of my own mortality, and therefore am extremely tuned in to every little change in my body.  Some people call that hypochondria.  Others call it neurosis.  A friend of mine recently referred to it as Judyism… not to be confused with the religion, although I am Jewish.

I received the news this morning that a very dear friend of mine, and of my mother’s passed away.  Howie was 87, and some would say he lived a long and fruitful life.  So what?  It still hurts those whom he left behind.  I’m still devastated by the loss of a man who came to be thought of as my second father.  (By not only me, but by Howie himself, and by his daughter, who refers to me as her sister from another mister).

So, I hurt.  I grieve.  And that’s okay.  That’s how I feel, and I always tell people that feelings are the one thing that are entirely your own, and nobody has the right to tell you how to feel.

A long time ago, I came across the poem below on a greeting card, although I cannot recall the author, or even if there was one to whom it was attributed.  I share it often; not only when people have lost a friend through death, but when they are hurting because they have been wronged by someone who they thought was their friend.

Ships that Pass in the Night

There are those who pass like ships in the night,
Who meet for a moment, then sail out of sight.
With never a backwards glance of regret;
Folks we know briefly then quickly forget.

Then there are those friends who sail together,
Through quiet waters and stormy weather.
Helping each other through joy and through strife;
And they are the kind that give meaning to life.

Howie came into my life at an extremely critical time, and therefore, gave that “real meaning” to my life, of which the poem speaks.  It was shortly after my own father passed, I had only been working at a nursing home for a little over a year, and I was struggling with a very personal issue.  When he came to volunteer there, he pretty much fixed EVERYTHING, simply by being my friend.  I was lost, and he found me.

His compassion, his sense of humor and his lust for life somehow overshadowed it all.  His overwhelming and undying support of my endeavors, both personal and professional, helped me unfold into the person I was supposed to be.  He made me laugh when I needed to, and he listened, sometimes for hours, when I needed an ear.

He was, in essence, filling the role my father had played, without even knowing it. When I was little, my father would hold me up with me sitting on his shoulders at a parade, so I could see. Into my late fifties, it was Howie who held me up so I could see.

So today, I bid you a fond farewell, Howie.  May you bring to heaven as much joy as you created here on earth.  Rest in Peace.

 

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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in General, Phase 2

 

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Women Know Women

Women know women.  Most women would probably agree with that statement, for a lot of reasons.  On this particular day, however, I feel compelled to write about it.

My friend Beth, whom I met nearly twenty years ago, was one of those people who could see right through you, and read you instantly.  We met on my first day of work at a facility where she had already been employed for over ten years.  I was there to fill out paperwork only, but she invited me to a luncheon for which she had an extra ticket.  During those three hours together, we learned that we had much in common.  We were avid sports fans, liberal democrats, University of Florida College of Journalism Graduates and “foodies.”   She and I even lived only five houses away in the same neighborhood, albeit at different times in our lives.

We also learned our differences.  I love theater and music; she wasn’t a big fan.  She adored discussing politics, and because of the great divide in my household, I did not.  She collected Beanie Babies to distraction (or at least I thought so, until she gave me one named “Hope” when my Dad was dying); I collected camels and recipes.

After working with Beth for a very short time, she knew me better than I knew myself.  In fact, she asked me a question, after working with me only five weeks, which floored me.  She said, “Was your father very hard on you?”  Yes, indeed, he was.  I still don’t know fully how she knew that, even after years of pondering.   I can only surmise that it was because of the one great difference between Beth and me.

Beth Amy was a strong, confident, out-going and outspoken woman.  She lived her life on her terms.  In fact, when she first took ill, she told me that no matter what the outcome, she had no regrets.

I, on the other hand, until most recently, was far from confident and out-spoken.  I had a severe problem with self-confidence and self-esteem.  Beth probably figured out my personality flaws were a result of a flawed father-daughter relationship.  I know that now, and understand my father’s path and accept that people do the best can with what they’ve got.  Both Beth and my father would be happy to see the woman into whom I’ve unfolded.

Besides teaching me almost everything I know about Special Events, Beth taught me how to be flexible, to “punt,” as she put it, to stand up for myself, and to not be so hard on myself.  She taught me how to laugh at myself.  She also taught how to live with myself.

Beth passed away this morning, after a valiant clash with cancer.  Beth knew me.  I believe she loved me.  I loved her.

Because women know women.

 

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in General, Phase 2

 

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Suddenly

Out of the blue, the lightning strikes, starting a forest fire or knocking someone off their feet.

In an instant, the car veers off the road and into a post, the engine exploding, the passengers crushed.

After months of remission and hope, the tumor overtakes the body.

Abruptly, the body defies the lifestyle, and a tiny embolism explodes.

 Suddenly, is God dead.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in General, Poetry

 

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