When my beloved father died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, my sister’s and my life completely changed. He was the most special Daddy and we adored him.
Thanksgiving was the 1st big holiday without him and the empty dining room chair at the head of the table was a cutting reminder he wasn’t coming back.
One of the million things I learned from my father was to tell people why they are so special.
So when I learned earlier this year a close friend of 40 years was very ill from lung cancer, I not only rushed to her that day to tell her why I loved her so much, but I also wrote her a long letter of each and every little thing that made her special to me.
She loved my children like her own grandchildren and they even called her Nana.
It gutted me when she died, but I had no regrets. She knew how much I loved her.
We’ve just returned from Europe.
We took the children out of school and spent the Thanksgiving holiday in England. Of course, England doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but it was a time to give thanks and tell a very special and significant woman in my life why she means the world to me.
Yes, it was that time again – Thanks…giving – a reminder to give deep thanks for why the people around me are so special and wonderful because there may not be another time – we had received a phone call that Grandma was in the hospital. So off we went!
We spent every day with her. She loved to have her arms stroked, and her grip was strong and purposeful as she hugged. She listened intently as our 5 year old sang her dozens of songs.
Grandma is blind. She lost her sight 2 years ago. She said to hear her grandchild’s voice in song was simply precious.
Every day her room was filled with grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws. Our visits were happy and loving, joyous and tender.
I spent my time with her telling her all the reasons I loved her. There are so many, it took all the days we were there to tell her.
The point is I learned the lesson my father taught me – tell those special to you how much you love them – you see, I didn’t wait until now to tell this incredible woman how much she means to me, I’ve been telling her throughout the years. But this week, I went over everything again just to reiterate how important she has been in my life, in my marriage and as a parent.
Next year will be 60 years with her husband, a beautiful role model of the most loving marriage.
The Bright Spot – You have time right now to call that special someone in your life and tell them why you love them so much. Don’t wait. Because life can change in a flash and you don’t want to have any regrets.
(This is a special 3-part post that runs from December 21 – December 28th. As you read down the page, you’ll know what I mean.)
I am so tired of people being offended by holiday greetings, holiday decorations, holiday traditions.
I just heard in the news yesterday that some people in England want everyone to take down their outdoor Christmas decorations because it depresses and offends them because they don’t celebrate Christmas and have no decorations.
Please read Mission: “Bright Spot” in the navigation bar above – just click on the flower.
There you will learn much about me…including that I come from a very large, close-knit, multicultural, multi-religious, multi-international, multi-lingual family.
We were raised to be open and accepting of all cultures and religions; raised to be respectful and open-minded. To be kind and thoughtful of other families’ customs and celebrations.
If you want to put up a tree, put up a tree. If you want to light a Menorah, light a Menorah. If you want to drink from a Kikombe cha Umoja Unity Cup for Kwanzaa, drink from the cup, but for God’s sake, stop your cantankerous yammering, put on your happy face and let the world celebrate…together!
Embrace the differences.
(Our Snowy Village and Christmas Tree)
I remember one year buying a Mezuzah for my brother-in-law. I had one of the Rabbis explain what it was. I initially liked its beauty but when he explained what it was, I was doubly excited.
As it was December 22nd, the Rabbi asked me what it was for. “It’s a Christmas present for my brother-in-law,” I beamed.
I explained that my father was Muslim, my mother a Lutheran, my sister and I were baptized Protestant, we went to Catholic schools for 17 years and my sister married a Jewish man, and that was just a glimpse of my very unique family…then the Rabbi hugged me and said, “You are what the United Nations should be!”
Today, my sister called to tell me her husband collapsed and was rushed to the hospital unconscious. As I wait here with the children, I can only pray. And then pray some more.
One of my cousins had sent me the following in an e-mail. It asks “How Do You Measure Time?”
The author is unknown but the message is clear. We don’t know how long we have with one another, so enjoy every moment.
To realize the value of 4 years:
Ask a graduate.
To realize the value of 1 year:
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of 9 months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
To realize the value of 1 month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of 1 minute:
Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of 1 second:
Ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of a friend or family member: LOSE ONE.
Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.
And hold on tight to the ones you love!
The Bright Spot – I have the power of prayer in my belief system. You may believe otherwise, but that’s the beauty of this nation.
We are strong because we are different. Don’t worry about who’s celebrating what. Celebrate with them and enjoy life!
UPDATE ON THIS STORY (the following morning):
As soon as the kids were off to school, I drove to the hospital which was more than an hour away (my husband went yesterday). And thank God I left so early! Here’s why:
My sister set off shortly after I left. We planned that I would visit my brother-in-law 1st in Intensive Care while she waited in the lobby with their little one. Then we would switch and I would watch their daughter while she visited with her husband. (Their little one wasn’t allowed upstairs because of a bad virus).
During my visit I found out that he had been feeling very ill, had picked up this virus while away on business, and then really felt ill yesterday morning. He felt so delirious, he could no longer make out the numbers on his phone to dial 911, so he called out to a neighbor nearby, waving, “Help me! Help me please!” She looked at him and drove off. He said he felt like he was dying and he didn’t want to die at home alone, he wanted to get to the public so he went to the nearby coffee shop and staggered in, telling the owner he was a diabetic and needed help.
The owner yelled at him that he must be drunk because he was slurring his words so the owner called the police – not an ambulance!! Then he threw my brother-in-law out the door and told him to wait outside for the police – excuse me, it’s 20 degree weather here!! No longer able to stand, he waited on the ground, delirious, weak and shivering.
The police arrived. My brother-in-law had just his last ounce of strength left to mumble he was a diabetic and was feeling very strangely and then he passed out.
Doctors told us when the ambulance arrived, glucose levels in a healthy body are supposed to average 100, his count was 1,700 and that he was close to slipping into a coma and was 10 minutes from dying. They actually say he is a “prime case study” because none of them knew how he didn’t die. Now I ask you – where is all this holiday spirit of love and giving and kindness and helpfulness? I was just sick when I heard all this!
So then, while I was visiting him in Intensive Care, a call came in from a hospital staff member telling me that my sister had slipped in the lobby, cut her hand on some rusty metal and was in the Emergency Room undergoing treatment, a Tentanus shot, and x-rays and could I come and get the little one.
The day was long for all of us. So what’s the Bright Spot in all this??
I remembered my own blog post above from yesterday – how do we measure time, how do we value time? I was with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. I was there to be a helping hand. I was there for a reason. It’s 2 days before Christmas Eve, our big celebration, when I could have been flitting about with last-minute preparations. And tomorrow is a big show on our radio program, I could have been preparing guest questions, etc…
But I was with family ~ and there was no other place I would have rather been but right there in the hospital…valuing my time with my loved ones.
UPDATE December 28th:
My brother-in-law has now finally been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit, thank God. He will be in the hospital for quite some time. Thank you so much for all of the e-mails that were sent to us last night – we appreciate it!
Thank you from my family to yours. Hold those you cherish close to you as you celebrate the New Year.