Life and Death and Things In-Between

He had just chased his wife of 51-years, around the dining room, when he collapsed and died.

He was 70-years old, and the father of my niece, Debby’s best friend.

Debby was heartbroken. He was a second father to her, and a second grandfather, to her son.

Yes, I had a golf ball sized lump removed. Yes, it had some cancer cells in it. But I am so, so fortunate. My surgery went great. My prognosis is fantastic.

My Saturday was spent trying to get rid of the cold, going fo a bit of a ride, wondering what my kids and grandkids were up to, baking something, thinking about a surgery.

My niece’s dear friend’s father, was in Cleveland, doing whatever he did on a Saturday, with the addition of a jolly chase after his wife, for humor … and love.

I lived for my surgery.

Frank, that was the man’s name, didn’t.

Oh, I am sure it wasn’t in his mind that he would die that Saturday. He was full of it. From what Debby said, that is how he lived his life. He was full of it. He was fun and faithful and loved his family.

People have been so kind to me. They have called and written and asked how I am doing and if I need anything. Last night, at two different times, neighbors popped by, one with a candle and the other with cupcakes. Both with kindness and concern.

Friends, I havne’t even needed a pain pill. That is not a boast. It is just a reference point to show the different levels of pain and anguish between what I am dealing with and what Frank’s family is dealing with.

Their life’s have been stopped. Everything in their hearts has been spilled out, and broken, as if an earthquake has shaken the china off the shelves, and it has crashed on the floor.

I use an ice pack on my breast to heal it.

But how does a family heal a broken heart?

Debby told me, this morning, that Frank and his wife, Bonnie, when they needed some adult alone time, would tell their kids that they had to go to their bedroom and talk about Christmas. And off they’d go, upstairs, to do what no kid wants to imagine their parents do.

Debby said they all still refer to that story. The kids wondered why their parents had to to talk about Christmas so much.

There is another thing that is on my mind. Debby’s mom, Marge, my sister-in-law, and friend, died of breast cancer. So I know that Debby doesn’t want me to have it. That has to be on her mind. Memories of her mom, as she dealt with this disease.

I am certain my rice is flooded with memories right now. She is that kind of girl. She takes phots and has a long memory, that she uses in her life, now, to recall moments of life.

When she was young, she used to come to Cincinnati and visit us in the summer. She enjoyed being around our nutty house. She observed and took part. I know she remembers it fondly, as she has brought up memories of it.

Add those, to the memories of her relationship and the grand times that she has had with her best friend and her family.

I have bitched and moaned about the cold I just had. I will not bitch and moan about my cancer. It could be so much worse.

Rarely does a day go by when the irony of life … and death, come before us.

And, everything in-between.

We each have “issues”, problems, ailments, aches and pains, peeves and thoughts that, “Oh, good jigsaw puzzle, the world has gone to Helsinki in a Tupperware.”

We think and often, worry, about the future and what is in store for us, a half second after deciding to have a cheese sandwich for lunch. and we get ticked at a perceived slight from someone or get miffed because we are on “hold” on the phone or in a line, putting a different kind of a value on time.

Yet, each day, while we think we have it so rough, and get irritated by something stupid, and think our life is so difficult, someone, somewhere, perhaps next door, is dealing with death.

Today, a Celebration of Life will be held for Frank. And although I don’t know Frank’s family, I know what they have meant to my dear niece and her son.

At the risk of sounding benedictory, I want to embrace all of them with love and the Holiest of Spirits.

And to Marge and Kathy, both of my sisters-in-law, who left us too soon, I miss you, both.



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