somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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Love Always Remains

Today’s post is one that is truly difficult to put out there in words…in black and white…which will suddenly make it all real.  My oldest sister, Patti, of whom I have written about on a few occasions, passed away on December 6, 2021, at the age of 79.  

For those of you who do not know her story, Patti was stricken with polio when she was 12.  She experienced a severe case, and almost died.  Her prognosis was not good at that time, and she was given only about 10 years to live in her condition, even after treatment in an iron lung and then physical therapy.  God had another plan in mind…she lived a full life, touching  countless hearts of all that came into her life.  Patti lived the remainder of her life as a quadriplegic, with only the use of her left hand and neck…and a brain filled with intelligence, love, trust in God, and an incredibly feisty and grateful spirit.

It’s hard to describe what Patti meant to me, and to my family.  “Back in the day,” there were no government programs in place for her or for any families that were caregivers for their loved ones.  There was no financial help, and no respite help.  Come to think of it, as far as I know, there were never any offers to help our family back then.  I am sure that most friends and family members were intimidated by the scope of what was needed for her care.

With that said, from a very young age, my other two sisters and I learned how to help care for all of Patti’s needs.  Bathing, hair washing, skin care, bedpans, turning her and changing her position so she would not get bedsores.  We also were “on call” for anything that she needed or help with the things she desired to do. We assisted her, and made sure that she had her writing tools and papers, books to read, the telephone to visit with friends and family, cups of cozy coffee, among many other things.

Patti was the center of our existence, and her role in our lives is so intricate that it is impossible to explain to others, even to other family members and friends. We grew up in a volatile, abusive, confusing and uncertain home. The kind of home where you never knew what was going to happen hour to hour, or even minute to minute.  There were wonderful times, that felt loving, lighthearted and fun.  However, those comforting times could change in a fleeting instant…and we lived in a home that the “spirit” of the day ahead of us could be felt in a palpable way. Our life was confusing, filled with the stark contrast of darkness and light.

That is one of the ways that Patti was a grounding for us.  She was a constant source of light, love, nurturing, connection, and positivity.  We spent a lot of our time as babies, toddlers, and teenagers, in her room.  She was there for us when we came home from school, to listen to whatever needed to be shared or discussed.  We watched special movies together, in her room.  (remember…there were no dvds or streaming back then so it was “a big deal”) We listened to record albums in her room, as a family.  This would include Shakespeare plays and most of the musicals.  I especially remember listening to Macbeth, all together in the dark.  Very memorable and scary!

My most precious memories spent with Patti, when I was a child, was laying next to her, listening to my favorite stories and poems that she would read to me for hours.  She most probably is the reason for my love of reading and writing.  As a little one, I experienced the stories of Poppy, Heidi, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Happy Prince, and The Selfish Giant.  I also learned about the love of Jesus and His Precious Mother…and countless stories of the lives of the saints.  She read me beautiful story poems and also whimsical, silly ones.  She was the one who helped me with homework, and also helped with special projects for school.  She offered much encouragement when I practiced for a speech or presentation…which absolutely terrified me.

Somehow, Patti knew how to touch my soul. Or shall I say that she was an open vessel for The Holy Spirit to work through.  This was evident in our family, and each person that she came in contact with.

Although she lived her life with a disability most of us can’t even fathom, she never complained or cried about her condition.  She chose a different way…the way of gratitude, love, and trust in God.  As I have said before, she was the least handicapped person I have ever known.  She forged through life, and viewed it as an adventure.  There was not much that she wouldn’t be open to, if there was a way for her to do it.  I remember the time in her life when she painted miniatures using a mouth stick.  That amazed me!  I also remember when she was strapped to the back of a motorcycle for an exhilarating ride. Yikes! (remember…she could not hold on or sit up on her own)

Actually, everything about Patti will always amaze me.

Patti, I know that you are in heaven, and are part of a world that I can not see.  But I know you are here.

You are here in my heart.  You are here when I enjoy the newness of each day and what it will bring.  You are here when my heart explodes with love for those that God has blessed me with…for your heart exploded with love into me when I was a confused little girl.  My fears and anxieties have kept me from many experiences throughout my life…everytime I am able to break through those fears and try something new or creative, you are right here with me.  You always encouraged me and loved me where I was at.  I am learning to do the same with myself and others.

Thank you for all that you have given to me and to the world. Thank you for showing me what a blessing it is to open myself to the love, forgiveness, peace and mercy, that only God can give.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be truly grateful for all that God has blessed me with in this life.  You always focused on the beauty around you and that meant that your focus was always outside of yourself.  That is where your secret of happiness resided...it lived in the beauty of God’s creations and blessings, and especially in the hearts of those that He placed in your life.

Thank you for the love that you share(d) with me…I feel you so strong right now, that my heart is overflowing.  Thank you for being there for me throughout my life.  Your love and spirit  will be carried in my heart until my life has ended…and hopefully, will then be passed on to my loved ones and those souls that God places in my life.

God is love, and we will be connected in His love forever.  Thank you for teaching me that.

Your physical presence here on Earth is missed in so many ways.  It is not the same place without you.  However, the light that you shared will always be here to comfort us. Love always remains. I love you.

Patti’s Obit https://www.dispatch.com/obituaries/b0057891

Past Post about Patti  https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/patti-your-life-is-a-prayer/

 


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What a Father Should Be

Since our move to the area, my husband and I have found a new church here in Fort Collins, CO at St. Joseph Parish.  It is a beautiful, traditional Catholic Church, and the reverence of the Holy Mass pulled me right in, including beautiful bells being rung during the Eucharistic Prayer, and an altar rail.  (which I have greatly missed)

I felt completely at home from our first visit, and realized that many things at this Parish remind me of my childhood Church.  (St. John the Baptist in Campbell, OH) Even though we are new members, I feel community, connection, and most importantly…I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.

One of the first things that I learned, was that we are in the midst of The Year of St. Joseph...December 8, 2020 – 2021.

After Mass, we offer this prayer:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil. 

Amen.

I  never heard of this prayer before, and being perfectly honest, I never even thought of St. Joseph and his so very important, blessed role in the Holy Family.

The first time I attempted to read the prayer outloud, my eyes and heart filled with tears, and the words could not be formed out of my mouth.

It took my breath away.

This prayer conveys the perfect example of manhood and fatherhood.  What a father should be to his family.

A concept that I was never able to fully grasp with my own father.

St. Joseph took on the will of God with submission to The Father, total love, and humility. He was worthy in God’s eyes to be entrusted with the care and guardianship of The Blessed Virgin, and her son, Jesus, Our Savior.   

The words touch my heart because the prayer describes what a true Catholic father should be for his children and wife. What an important and blessed calling it is!

“To you God entrusted his only son”  To you, God entrusted his child (children.)

“in you Mary placed her trust;”  In you, your wife placed her trust.

“with you Christ became man.”  With you, your daughter or son becomes a woman or man.

“Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life.”  Show yourself a father and guide your children in the path of life.

“Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil.”  Pray and Live in a way that your children will be blessed with grace, mercy and courage and defend them from the evils of the world.  

Be sure that you, as a father, are never the source of evil in their lives…but the protection from it!

May we always be open and willing to follow the perfect examples of Jesus, and the role models of parenthood that God the Father blessed us with.  

May God bless you and your family on your journey to Him!

 

St. John the Baptist Church

 

 

 

 

 


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The Monsters We Create

The other night, I happened to see a discussion of the movie “The Bride of Frankenstein.” Upfront, I need to let you know I have never seen a Frankenstein movie and have never read the book. It just did not interest me. Although I usually do not put any credence in what “stars” say, Drew Barrymore’s  words interested me. She said it was a beautiful movie, with lots of symbolism. She also inferred there was a strong ethical and moral theme throughout the story, and a person could not help feeling sadness and compassion for the “monster”.

My curiosity was aroused, so I watched the movie.

Then I had to watch it again with my husband. This movie was filmed in 1935. There are many scenes that modern movie enthusiasts might laugh at, because of the acting and low technology, according to today’s standards. However, what I saw was a truly beautiful film, with much symbolism and reference to God, good, and evil. That kind of shocked me…I was not expecting that. Here was a monster that was created from dead bodies, and given “life” by crazed scientists. When the monster acted like a monster, the people were horrified, terrified, so of course they turned against him. They did not understand him, and were too afraid to even be in his presence. The monster stumbled his way around, because he simply knew no other way. He killed a few people indiscriminately, some of them by accident.

One truly beautiful scene, was when a lonely blind man was playing his violin in his little shack. The monster heard the music, and was drawn in by the beauty. He opened the door to the shack, and expected the man to scream and run. Since the man was blind, he did not do that. He literally prayed to God in thanksgiving…thanking God for sending him a friend in his loneliness. The man nursed the wounds of the monster, provided him with food and drink, and even tucked him into a comfortable bed, so he could rest. He accepted the monster as he was, without preconceived judgment. Not only did the man minister to his new “friend’s” needs, he also taught him to talk, and shared some finer things of life with him…namely wine and cigars. They became friends to each other. Because of the man’s blindness, he was able to show love without fear; he did not see the monster in his friend.

At that time, some men who were lost, happened to come into the man’s shack and saw the monster. They tried to kill him, and pulled the man out. The shack was left burning, and you see the monster escaping out of the flames, sadly calling out for his friend.

I won’t tell you the ending of the story, because I don’t want to completely ruin it for you. But let’s just say, the monster ended up having more humanity than the humans that created him had. I know it sounds weird, but that movie truly touched my heart. How many times do we create “monsters” and then turn our backs on them?

We allow the removal of God from our schools, and then are shocked when throngs of young adults turn their backs on God and the Church. And then, because of political correctness, we allow them to continue on their Godless path without a word, because we do not want to “offend” anyone.

We allow and condone the killing of unborn babies, the “innocents”, and then we wonder why there is so much violence and murder…and such disrespect for life in general. Again, we remain silent, after all, isn’t killing a baby in the womb a woman’s right? Really???

We allow our children to play violent, gory, evil games for hours on end, and then wonder why they cannot relate to people in a normal, healthy, loving way. In extreme cases, they play out their killing games in real life. Again, we make excuses. It’s only a game, it’s only a movie, it’s only music. Again I say…Really???

We allow the infiltration of our society’s minds, including our children’s innocent minds, with immodesty, promiscuity, and disgusting behavior. Then we cringe and back away when we see the results. Physical disease and debilitating emotional and spiritual sickness, unwanted pregnancies, suicide. But we often just want to turn away from what we have created. We judge and point our fingers at the “sinners.”  After all they chose that lifestyle, and need to repent. Right???

Because of busy work schedules and lifestyle choices, we spend less and less time together as families. Family meals are far and few between. Because of “smartphones” and other technologies, we have lost the art of personal communication and relationships. Families communicate through pithy and clever phrases, and don’t take the time to truly discuss feelings, dreams and beliefs. Our children are floundering…they are hungry for unconditional love and attention. But we are doing as much as we can; our family needs our two jobs, and we all need to be “active” and involved in community and recreational activities. We are exhausted…no time for anything else. Right???

Maybe we should all step back, and breathe in the love of God. Maybe then we will realize all the monsters we are creating on a daily basis…once created, the monsters we would like to ignore. The monsters we would like to destroy.

However, those “monsters” are our children, our friends, our family, our community, our country. The monsters are us. Instead of going with our first instinct of turning away in fear and disgust, we need to  look toward God for the grace to love His children in blindness to their circumstance and guilt, and love them for the beauty that  He sees inside their hearts.

Jesus sees the hurt, pain, sin, and darkness that we all have in our hearts. He is waiting for us to open ourselves in faith, submission and humility.

That is how our world will be converted to a much more beautiful place. With less monsters.


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Patti, Your Life is a Prayer

Today I am reblogging a post that I wrote about a very special lady. Patti is my sister, and I have been extremely blessed to have her in my life. Her life was never easy, however, that did not stop her from accomplishing great things. Through all her struggles, she has never lost her zest for life or her faith in God. Please read about her life as a quadriplegic, and how she touched so many lives.

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Patti at 12 years of age Patti at 12 years of age

This last weekend, I was blessed with some ‘one on one’ time with my oldest sister, Patti.  We usually get to visit only once or twice a year, being that she lives in Ohio, and I am in Virginia.  My mom has been living with my husband and me for over ten years now, so naturally all our visits with Patti are always together, as a family.

For some reason, I felt compelled to see my sister, and spend time with her alone.  There was no question in my mind…I needed her.  Just like I did throughout my childhood, and then as I grew to adulthood.

So, let me tell you a little about Patti.  She was a beautiful and feisty young girl, who now describes herself as a tomboy who loved climbing trees and neighborhood roofs.  To be honest, she was a little mischievous.

That very sweet and…

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Thanksgiving Memories

This post was shared a few years back…hope you enjoy my memories, as you are creating memories of your own.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Memories

This is the first year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day without our sons.  They are living across the country with their wives, in Colorado and California.  It’s a weird feeling, because we miss them and wish we could spend this special holiday with them, but at the same time we are really looking forward to having a cozy and wonderful day.  It will be the three of us…my husband Joe, my mother and me.

Sometimes I wonder if my sons savor the memories of Thanksgiving Day in the same way I do.  Just thinking of Thanksgiving brings up all kinds of memories and feelings.

I remember waking up to the sounds of my parents preparing the turkey for roasting.  That would always include a lot of arguing for some reason, but in our house, that was normal.  I loved to watch them stuff the bird, and then pop it in the oven.

Back when I was a little girl, it seemed as though the turkey cooked all day.  I’ve always loved turkey and stuffing, and the smell throughout the house was intoxicating.  I’ve come to realize how my feelings and memories are intensely attached to the aromas and tastes of traditional holiday foods.

To me, traditions convey warmth and family.

The next thing my three sisters and I would do is turn on the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  How we loved to check out all the awesome floats and characters! We would gather together and enjoy the music and wonder of the parade.  Such simple pleasures!

As the morning headed toward noontime, my mom would pass around some appetizers to keep our bellies from rumbling.  This would always include celery stuffed with cream cheese and pineapple, and cream cheese with olives.  (I loved both) There would also be cheese and crackers, and sometimes shrimp cocktail.  And there was always a bowl of whole nuts to keep us busy.  I don’t know what I loved more – eating the nuts or cracking them open with the cool nutcracker!

Thanksgiving would usually include my Grandfather, my Aunt Lillian, and my Great Uncle John.  It was a special day, so we would pull out the tablecloth, and set the table with cloth napkins and silver.  We would light candles.  We didn’t have fancy or expensive china, but I can tell you, I loved those dinners.  It felt so special to me.

After all these years, I finally understand the true gift my mom and dad were giving us through our holiday traditions.  They were planting memories of home and family…little bits and pieces of love that will always be in my heart.

You see, it didn’t matter that the glasses and dishes might not have matched.  It didn’t matter that we lived in a little house, and our “dining room table” was actually in our living room.  To tell you the truth, I never even thought about any of that.

Our family was very far from perfect.  In fact, there were things that happened in our house that should never have been – things that were hurtful and confusing.

But looking back, I see that my parents were always trying to find ways to instill family and stability into our lives.  They gifted us with many wonderful memories, and I never want to forget any of them.

Through our own family traditions, my husband and I have attempted to gift our sons with memories that they will carry with them forever, to share with their families.

It was way more than the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole,  cranberry sauce and pumpkin and apple pies.

 It was the blessing and miracle of family.

And I hope that when my sons smell their holiday meal cooking, and they are enjoying time with their own families, they will always feel us in their hearts, as they are always in ours.

May we always remember to treasure our family and friends that God has blessed us with. Have a joyous Thanksgiving!


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Rest in the Love of Jesus

There are many reasons that I could give to explain why I haven’t written a post for such a long time.  However, this is what sums it up:

The facade of my life that I unknowingly created in my own mind was demolished.  This devastated me, and I am still processing what it means to be me.

I thought that I dealt with each life event as they happened…but I didn’t, all the way back to my childhood.  What I did was put all of it on the back burner, thinking that I could go on with my life without actually feeling the pain, confusion, disappointment or anger that was simmering inside of me, just below the surface.  Because, I have so many wonderful blessings in my life…why couldn’t I just focus on those blessings?  What was wrong with me, what was that gnawing feeling down deep that there was more to me than I was willing to acknowledge?

The last few years were extremely difficult for me: 

My sons and their wives moved across country…something I never, ever envisioned happening to our family.

My mom passed away after living with my husband and me for over ten years.  The stress of being responsible for her health and happiness, and then sharing in her dying process through hospice in our home, was overwhelming.  As I started to grieve for her, I realized that I never truly grieved or faced the death of my father years ago. And both of those grief processes are very complicated.

Making the decision to move cross country to be near our new grandson, and my oldest son and daughter in law.  That meant leaving friends, family, and our beautiful home in Virginia.  Which also meant downsizing about 75 percent of our belongings, and moving into a much smaller condo in California.  As I sold and gave away so many things that had been a part of my life for so long, I kind of put blinders on, and pushed all my feelings to the side.  I did the exact same thing regarding my friends and family that I would be moving away from.  How else could I have made that move?  I literally numbed myself without even realizing it.

Then I started a job at an assisted living community.  I work reception, and have fallen in love with many of the residents and their families.  Although I love the people, and the relationships, something else started to happen to me.  I started suffering anxiety/panic attacks, and I did not understand why.

Evidently, God isn’t through with me yet.  More and more dark layers are being peeled away from my heart.  I am facing demons that have lied to me for many, many years.  And once again, Jesus is helping me to heal gently.  I want it all to be gone NOW, however, He knows the timing…He knows what remains hidden inside of me.

One of the reasons that I haven’t posted in such a long time, is that I don’t have all the answers.  However, I know now that it’s ok not to have the answers.  Jesus has been there each and every minute of my life. He knows The Truth…He knows my true soul and my true self.  My life is in His hands, and I trust where He is leading me.

He is there for all of us…in our joy, sadness, sin, anger, confusion, grief, and pain. When we truly accept that, we can stop trying to control everything and everyone in our lives, and we can rest in the love of Jesus.  And we will come closer and closer to understanding “what it means to be me.”

 

 

 

 

 


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A Box of Treasures

Yesterday, something rare happened here in San Luis Obispo, CA.  It was overcast…no sun at all, and lightly rained all day.  We desperately need the precipitation, so it was a very good thing!

The peaceful sound of the rain, and the cooler temperature brought calm to my spirit, and I decided to use this cozy time indoors to go through my box of old greeting cards.

Do you save greeting cards, notes, and letters that are sent to your family?  I always have, because I treasure all of them.

When we made our big move from the East Coast to the West Coast, I needed to do some major downsizing.  This was a painful process for me.  Layer by layer, I was able to sell, donate or give away more than half of our possessions.  It wasn’t easy, and I had a huge job ahead of me when I went through my cards and all the papers/drawings from my two sons that I had saved.  I managed to dwindle it all down to one box…which I haven’t gone through until yesterday.

Now I know that some of you completely understand what I am talking about, and some of you just can’t understand why greeting cards or letters from years ago would be so treasured.  Some people believe that cards are a waste of money and meaningless, and others believe that cards are a waste of resource and bad for the planet.

I believe that cards and letters can be life changing and sometimes even life savers. 

There is a specialness about receiving personal cards, notes, or letters, whether it be through the Post Office or personally delivered.  There is the immediate feeling of happiness in knowing that someone is thinking of us, and the anticipation while opening.

Any greeting is wonderful and appreciated…whether it is an email, text, or a card or letter.  However, a physical card that has been lovingly made or chosen for the recipient…or a letter written and actually signed by the giver…becomes a treasure. 

Those treasures actually touched the senders’ hands and remain a tangible reminder of their love and concern for us. 

I consider a box of old greeting cards and letters to be quite like a diary.

It is a timeline of a life.

When my mom passed away, I had the privilege of going through her cards…she kept EVERYTHING!  I learned so much about her and my dad, as I read all of the cards and letters that she had kept through the years.  The ones that really touched my heart were the sympathy cards she received from so many when my dad passed away.  I felt a reverence as I read each and every card and letter that she had kept.  I kept only a few, however, felt that I respected her memory by reading about her life through the words of concern and love from those who loved her.

Yesterday turned out to be an enlightening day for me.  I reread all of the sympathy cards sent to me after my mother’s death.  When first received they were comforting, however, at that time I was kind of going through life in auto-pilot.  Yesterday, the pouring out of love and condolences from friends and family’s correspondence, literally warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Sometimes it is easy to forget the great love that is present in our lives…there is so much darkness in the world.  These little, tangible reminders re-ignite the flicker of light and love in our hearts.

There were cards over the years from my friends, family, and husband that fill my heart just thinking about them.  Old love letters from my hubby before we were married…and then personal notes and cards from him that document our growth as a couple. Wow!

Cards and notes from my mom and dad, and my mother in law, in their handwriting that I will never be able to see from them again.  Words of love, appreciation, gratefulness, and wit, from my sons through the years.

You can’t put a price tag on those things, and the memories and feelings they evoke.

I have also saved thank you notes.  You know, when I feel the call to send a note or card to someone, or gift them in a particular way, I just send the love, and then put it out of my mind.  Reading the thank you notes helped me to remember all the times that God has led me to send a gift, letter, or card, only to find out that it was a time when they truly needed to know someone was thinking of them.

Isn’t God amazing?  And isn’t it amazing to be blessed with the opportunity to become a vessel that He works through to touch someone in our lives?

We are all interconnected in and through Jesus.  We are all parts of the same body…the Body of Christ.

It is a privilege to reach out to others, and a blessing when others reach out to us.  That privilege and blessing has One Source…Our Loving God.  May we always be open to His Presence, Love and Mercy.

 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.”    Romans 12:9-16

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Unless You Become Like Children

Last night my husband and I had the most entertaining and special time.  We had our 23 month old grandson, Brayden, over for a sleepover.

What fun!  We all enjoyed each and every minute that we shared together.  You know what moments I am talking about.  The ones that are completely special while doing nothing special.

Moments spent building houses with blocks, reading favorite books, giggling together while Brayden paraded around in our shoes and slippers, being with him as he pointed to all the interesting things he found, including snow globes that completely fascinated him, and wind up Santas and Snowmen that played music.  Time flew by as we sang songs, cuddled, and were just plain goofy together.

When it was Brayden’s bedtime, I thought that it was the end of our beautiful night together…and we started his bedtime ritual.  His jammies were on, his teeth were brushed, and his stories were read.  I cuddled with him a little, and as I rocked him, I felt his little head nestle into my neck.  What a precious feeling that is!

Sooo…I laid him down in his cushioned pack and play, in the spare room, for the night.

Now, I have watched him many times, and he is a good napper and sleeper for me.  When it is at his house.  But although he feels secure with us, he wasn’t so sure about spending the night in a different room and a different bed..even with his familiar sound machine and favorite blanket.

As I turned out the light, and started to close the door, I heard him whimper my name in the most pitiful little cry. All I heard was a faint “Gigi.”  (his name for me…pronounced GeeGee with a hard G) He melted my heart, and I turned back to him.

His pained little face with tears welling in his eyes were all I needed to gather him back in my arms to comfort him.

I know at this point, many will “judge” me because I shouldn’t spoil him!  However, grandmas are not bound by all the same rules as parents:-)

The best part of the night was the forty five minutes that followed, and will remain in my heart forever.

I laid the little guy down in his makeshift bed, and told him it was time for sleep.  As I rubbed his back, I told him I would stay with him.  I turned out the light, closed the door, and laid down on the floor right next to him.  He was positioned in the corner of the playpen, and I was facing him, with only the netting between us.   It was completely dark, so we could not see each other.

He was quiet, and I could hear his rhythmic breathing.  After about fifteen minutes, I thought he was sleeping.

Then, I felt his presence close to me, and his warm breath breathing down on me.  I heard a whispered “Gigi” and realized that he had popped his head up in the darkness to see if I was still there.  I answered, “Gigi is here,” and he laid back down without a sound.  We went through the exact same scenario about five or six times before he felt safe enough to fall asleep.

What really touched my heart, as his grandma, was the inner knowing…that he was looking to me for comfort, and trusted me in a way that allowed him to feel secure enough to “let go”.

He just needed to know if I was still there.

My mind turned to this Bible Verse:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,  and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:1-4

Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  

How can we humble ourselves like a child, so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven?

One way would be to follow Brayden’s example.  When he was afraid in the darkness, in his innocence he called out my name…just to make sure I was still there.  He could not see me, but he knew my voice when I answered him, and he felt my presence.  He didn’t stop himself from calling out time after time.  Once he felt secure that I was with him, he had no trouble falling asleep.  He slept peacefully all night.

And when he woke up in the morning, and called out to me, I was still there for him.

We should never be afraid to call out to Jesus when we are afraid, hurt, or in darkness.  As many times as we need to.  In our darkness and despair, we will learn to feel His Presence and hear His voice.  Sometimes, it will take many cries, of “Jesus, are you there?”  

Once you feel the love of Jesus wash over you, like Brayden you will be able to finally let go.  As you learn to recognize the voice of Jesus, you will find the peace and mercy that will allow your spirit to rest comfortably in the knowledge that you are loved, and you are never alone.

Always remember that truth…you are loved and you are never alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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How Does Your World Change When Your Father is Gone?

How does your world change when your father has passed on, and is no longer with you?

“Papa Bill” with Grandson Joey

I cannot speak for all of you, for what your story is, or what you are feeling.  All I can do is share what my personal reality is…with the knowledge that as I continue to walk my journey, that reality may change.  As it has changed in the last fourteen years…since my father, Bill Makosky,  passed away.  To read my tribute to my dad, written a year after his death, click here.

When my father died, I went numb, and then into auto pilot.  So many things to do, so many people to interact with,  and so many reasons to stay strong for my mother and family.  Although my heart knew the grief, anger, sadness, and confusion that  lurked beneath the surface, I instinctively protected the depth of those feelings…and chose to reveal only a facade to the world around me.

My mother was alone after his death,  and needed to be with loved ones.  A year after my dad died, my husband and I  invited her to come live with us…which meant she had to make that very hard decision to leave all she knew, and the home that she and dad had lived in for most of their married life together.  She moved from the small town of Youngstown, OH, to Manassas, VA…which is essentially the crazy Washington D.C. area.  And my sisters and I, all did what we needed to do to help her purge most of what she owned, sell her home, (the home we all grew up in) and then move in with us.

Mom ended up living with us until her death, in 2015. During that time, I kind of took her lead, regarding her grieving the loss of my dad.  In the beginning, she talked about him a lot, and was kind of living in her own reality regarding the man he was.  It was obvious to me that they have always loved each other, through any storm that hit them or our family.  However, when she talked about him, refusing to aknowledge his weaknesses, or the way some of his words and actions affected my sisters and me, it touched a place inside of me that I could no longer ignore.  

Carefully, I would remind her that I grew up in our house, and I knew the truth.  As the years went by, she was more able to accept the goodness of my dad, and also the darkness that he harbored.  We were able to talk about it at times, and although we made that breakthrough, I focused mostly on my relationship with her, and kind of put the death of my father on the back burner.

That changed when my mom passed away, for then I was orphaned.  The foundation of our family, and the roots that connected us no longer existed.  No reasons left for me to gloss over the fact that my father is dead.  

He is gone. 

And I miss him very much!

How did my world change when my father passed on?  A few things come to mind…

No more “hi dads,” and “hi Buns” (he called me Bun) and seeing his face light up when he saw me and his grandsons.

No more seeing him at our door, carrying his paper, and anything else he decided to bring over…like coffee cake or donuts.

No more dad to call when my life was in turmoil…like when my marriage was young and stormy.  He would listen to my cries of anguish, then comfort and support me…while at the same time, never once uttering  a negative thing about Joe…my husband and his son in law.

No more dad to call when I was excited about something in our life, or when there were troubles or sadness.

No more father’s day cards or gifts to choose…or birthdays or holidays to celebrate together.

No more dinners together, and waiting for his reaction to the dishes I prepared.

No more arguments with him, and no more chances to view him from the eyes of one flawed adult to another…no more chances to pray for him, and for the healing of his hurting soul.

The world is still turning…hours, days, months, and years spin by.  And although it is a beautiful world, created and gifted to us to enjoy and treasure, I have finally come to the place where I feel the emptiness of being fatherless in this world.

It is a void that cannot be totally filled by memories.

However, my heart is miraculously filled with an intense love that includes the hearts of my mom and dad.  That love pierces through the pain and grief of losing our loved ones,  It is a love and warmth that could only come from the source of love itself...Our Heavenly Father.

May God bless you on Father’s Day, and each and every day that you are blessed to live and love, in this beautiful world!

 

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.  Deuteronomy 5:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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My Second Mother’s Day Without my Mom

Today is my second Mother’s Day without my mom.

I never thought I would be the one to continue to grieve, to be overcome with emotion, and to miss my mother so very much.

Since my mother passed away, about a year and a half ago, I have felt her presence with me…a love that fills me and sometimes overwhelms me.  All of the moments that are precious and a treasure to me now, at the time were experienced as normal everyday moments.  Not realizing the memories that she was gifting me with…going through my days, as though each one was just another day, and not having the eyes yet to perceive true beauty.

My mother lived with Joe (my husband) and me for about eleven years.  Through those years, I was the one that would help her make purchases for gifts.  When it came to gifts for me, she would usually tell me what she would like to give me, and would ask me to choose and purchase.  Needless to say, I was never surprised!

Mom’s Final Gift to Me

When she was in rehab before she died, she was thoroughly enjoying herself.  One of the activities she loved was Bingo.  One day, I walked in to her room, and her face was all lit up.  She told me that she won Bingo, and was able to choose her prize.  She chose a beautiful flower arrangement so she could give it to me.  She was so excited and happy that she was able to surprise me with some beautiful flowers.  I was very touched at the time…but as time goes by, that one simple gesture touches my heart in the most deep way.

These are the moments that stay with us.  Snapshots of time that keep us grounded in love.  The miraculous scenes of life that play and replay through our minds and hearts of times gone by.

Moments spent with those we love.  As I sit here thinking and honoring my mother for all she was, and all she did for us as a family, many of those times come to mind.

Some of those moments that will always be with me:

Watching my mom through the window of the Senior Center when I arrived to pick her up.  Seeing her sitting at a round table with five of her friends, laughing so hard that she had to lay her head down on the table.  I had never seen her laugh like that.

Seeing her in her cute reading glasses, looking up from her book at me, when I came home from work and popped my head in her room to ask her how her day was.  She usually said, “I had a beautiful day.”  I will never be able to part with those glasses.

Watching her eyes light up when Joe or I served up one of her favorite meals.  Or favorite desserts.  Come to think of it, most everything was “her favorite!”

Getting beat royally by her when playing Canasta, Skip-Bo, or Sequence.  Sometimes it was downright mortifying how bad she beat me!

Losing my temper and yelling about our differing politics.  Feeling awful afterwards, I would apologize, and she would just say, “Sometimes things just need to come out.”  She would never hold those outbursts against me.

Strolling through Costco pushing my mom in her wheelchair with a cart in front of us…stacked so high with items she wanted to purchase, that we could not see where we were going!

Her excitement upon learning that she was going to be a great grandma.  That was one of the things that was holding  her back from passing on…she wanted to see her grandson’s baby that would be coming in five months.  I said, “Mom, you know that in heaven you will be able to see your grandson.”  She looked in my eyes and smiled.  She said, “I know, but I am not ready to leave this Earth yet.”  She didn’t make it to see Brayden’s birth, but I KNOW she is with him now.

The privilege of assisting her to shower, wash and style her hair, and put lotion on her.  In the beginning, she was embarrassed to have me help her in that way.  However, it became comfortable and natural for us.  And I enjoyed helping her to feel a little pampered.

Seeing the joy on her face when looking out her bedroom window and seeing three snowmen that the sweet neighbor girls built for her.

Sitting next to Mom at Mass and special worship times, feeling so close to her.

Seeing my mother, as she was near death, look me straight in the eye and tell me that I had the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen.  Then proceeded to call me “Jan,” telling “Jan” that her daughter and son in law take good care of her, but she worries about their health.

A few days before she passed away, I climbed into bed with my mom, and put my arm around her,  I asked her if it was ok that I was there with her.  Her answer?  “We should do this more often.”  Yes, we should have….

Once I asked her if there was anything she would have done differently, being that she had a hard life.  She told me she wouldn’t change a thing.  She said that her family is her blessing, and when things get difficult, you just need to “offer it up to the Lord.”

I have learned to do just that, Mom.  I have finally learned to offer my life to the Lord.  And a large part of myself is the part that came from you.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for loving the Lord.