Simple Words of Strength


My husband Richard passed away three years ago tonight, but I find myself celebrating in a way.

Sure his life was cut too short, and his early onset dementia was cruel, yet most of his days were good ones.

It seems Richard knew how to live well.

His life was never a rich one monetarily, but it was in experiences, accomplishments, and in his work with the arts community.

Richard also knew how to laugh.

A lot.

And mostly, at himself.

The first time I met Richard at a dinner party, he was already making the others guests hysterical while describing a crazy New Year’s Eve just spent with an elderly aunt in Boston.

And Richard would always be the first to chuckle at the graduate school pictures of himself from the 70’s with his long brown hair, skinny torso, and Barnaby Street bell bottom suits.

By the time I met him a decade later at the party, he was sporting instead a marine cut, balding white hair, and a slight Santa pot belly masked under preppy flannels.

I believe I admired most Richard’s ability to share his loving heart with others.

And often to those with the greatest need.

Richard was the first to mention the idea of adopting a very special 12 year old girl from Russia. And did he ever LOVE to spoil this girl after our adoption was finalized and we all came back together to the U.S.

That special girl grew to become one very special lady. She, along with her young family, came over today for a belated Christmas celebration.

We had a joyful time dancing in our family room and I hadn’t thought about today’s anniversary until she pulled out one of Richard’s old graduate school photos from her purse. I then glanced briefly at some later photos of Richard on the book shelves behind her and smiled.

Perhaps in this last week of 2016, I should now be thinking about jotting down my resolutions for the new year.

Like lose that extra ten pounds or find the best job ever.

But I don’t really need too.

I’ve just realized my resolutions have been right here behind me in my family room, and in bold, ever since I down sized into my new home.

Just three short words can say it all, and I will practice them every day.

“Live, laugh, love.”

Sounds like a whole lot more fun than going on a diet.

And after all, life is just too short.

Father Time’s Falling

I never was one to make New Year’s resolutions as I knew I’d surely break them.

Yet often on New Year’s Eve I’ll look back on the year gone by, as I did last night.

My date for the evening was my lively eight year old granddaughter.

She’d packed her purple and pink toy tea set for one of our beloved tea parties.

Possibly our last I was thinking, as soon she’ll be a ‘tween’.

I found our conversations over steaming cups of Earl Grey were skirting more towards adult topics such as bad drivers, technology, and bullying in America.

Later on we exchanged reviews of the rock stars performing on the TV before us, while waiting for the big crystal ball to drop in Times Square. I remember doing the same with my own grandmother, but I wondered could it have possibly been five decades before?

Suddenly, I felt old.

Father Time marches on, and ever so quickly.

Still I smiled as I looked at the sweet faced third grader before me:

-A girl who thinks it’s “so cool” I spend part of my work days now with students her age.

-A girl who believes it’s “so neat” that I’ve recently moved into a little grandma house, “so perfect” for overnight visits.

-And a girl who says it’s “fantastic” that Grandma adopted a young pup, just as energetic as the one Grandma had many years before.

As I took my two senior dogs out with the new youngster canine before turning in, I looked up at the stars while listening to the music of fireworks behind me.

Maybe…just maybe my move, retirement, a new job, and the new pup were good decisions for me last year, I mumbled out loud.

Sure, time is moving faster, but then so am I.

You see, I continue to be blessed with a muse.

And that muse is one spirited, sprinting granddaughter.