I was most blessed to be the one who got to spend nearly every day of her last year with her. It was hard and painful, but I wouldn't change a thing. It was a privilege to be there to hear the stories of her life.
She was a wonderful woman who had flaws and fears and anger. Today I can look back and realize, she was just hurt so badly and didn't know what to do about it.
Her name is Jeannie, born Harrington, married Boyle. The last two years of her life, she lived a block away from me. She was a wonderful grandmother to my son Jimmy who was 7 when she died.
She was the one who got all his school projects because her house was where he stopped on the way home, for cookies and cartoons.
When I picked her up for radiation, she always had a dum dum for my little two year old, Sabrina. To this day, I think about her when I see dum dums.
Over the past 30 years, I've had two visions of her. Once the night she died, she came to me to tell me; she'd made it to heaven. Such a bright, beautiful smile. Then, many years ago, I was able to visit her in her "mansion" in Heaven. It was amazing. All the surrounding landscape was fogged, but her home was light and beautiful. No bathrooms!
I know she is with me when I need her, I know she is with me when butterflies land on me or I see my birthday 523 all the time.
The moral to the story is this: Love your family while they are here. Forgive them, overlook their idiosyncrasies'. Yesterday I was fighting with her because I wanted to get married at 17. Today I'm grieving her loss at 58.
Don't waste the time God has given you. Live, breath, dance and sing. Everyday, bless yourself and others as best you can, for tomorrow may not come.
Fantasizing the freedom to enjoy my life, the good, the bad and everything in between.