Reminiscing Barbara

 

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This blog today may turn out to be the length of a book, but there are things about Barbara that I am remembering and some of them need to be told at length.  Her personality was so complicated and awesome that to generalize entirely about her now would seem unfitting to her memory. She wasn’t a saint, making her full share of mistakes.  She was human just like the rest of us.  What sets her apart is what she possessed that few people have or even know about.  Her beauty was in her heart and in her inner determination and strength to help others and to love so deeply and so fiercely there was no way to avoid it nor once experienced would you want to.  Barbara was and always will be one of a kind.

Twenty-six years ago today, May 8th, my sister, Barbara passed away. Her death was far from “easy”. Her suffering was great. The lung cancer that affected her had been spreading throughout her fragile body and overtook the woman we all knew and loved much too soon. As a mother of five children Barbara was a “force of nature”. Her protectiveness for her “babies” was instinctively inborn in her very persona. It is only fitting that I write about her today for she is missed by all who knew her.

Barbara was born a middle child of eight.  She had four older siblings and three younger siblings. We were all born into “poverty” and our parents had their own set of problems.  Barbara was a sickly child and had battled and survived pneumonia on five separate occasions.  I don’t think she ever weighed more than one hundred pounds even when pregnant on her five foot seven frame.  Yet she held a beauty all her own.  She was fierce and stubborn, loving and funny all at the same time.  Her sense of loyalty was undeniable.  She adored her mother and had a closeness with her that most daughters rarely experience.  Barbara was on the surface someone we would call “tough” back then.  She took no guff from anyone and would defend her family and all those she cared about with every ounce of courage she could muster.  It wasn’t till the very end of her life, when I had the privilege along with some of my siblings and her children of caring for her during her illness, that I finally got a glimpse of her true vulnerabilities, fears and passionate heart.  I have to be honest and tell you that it was an eye opener for me since she and I practically fought about everything.  I am the youngest of those eight siblings and she and I would butt heads about almost everything in life.  Barbara was also a religious person and her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary was unmistakable.  To this day, I cannot think about the Blessed Mother without thinking of Barbara as well.

The first inkling I had that my sister, who was eleven years my elder, had  more guts than anyone I knew at the time, was when she “borrowed” a friend’s car and took off to elope with her than boyfriend, who shortly after became her husband.  I recall waking up in the tenement bed I shared with her and my other sister and hearing my parents frantically making phone calls and having the police come to our door.  From the gist of the conversations, I had understood that Barbara ran away and the search was on.  They found her though and brought her back home before they actually went through with the elopement.  She was almost charged with stealing a car, but thankfully her friend didn’t press charges.  Another time I recall her coming to let our mother know that our brother was hanging off the fence in the schoolyard down the street from our tenement and that was why he was late getting home for supper.  She had tried to lift him off herself, but I cannot recall whether or not she succeeded.  Did I mention how strong she was in spite of her thinness?  Well that she was.  Strong as an ox and was never afraid to use physical force whenever she deemed it necessary.  I was afraid of her for most of our lives together.  When I turned eighteen, it was Barbara who took me to the my first bar and bought me my first drink.  I recall her telling me that she was doing it herself to warn me and steer me against the pitfalls of alcohol. As it turns out, I was never much of a drinker or even enjoyed liquor until much, much later in life.

Barbara had few very close friends during her life, most of them since she was a young girl.  Her loyalty and faithfulness to their closeness remains unparalleled.  She loved her close friends almost as much as she loved her family.  That love she possessed was strongly felt by all.  She often did so much for others, quietly without any of us truly aware of how thin she spread herself and how helpful a person she truly was.  It was not until her death that this all came to light for most of us.

Earlier I mentioned about Barbara’s closeness to our mother. She took it upon herself to be my mother’s guardian in every sense of the word.  She stuck by her and defended her when our dad would be on a drunken binge and take all his hard luck out on our poor mother’s body.  Barbara would fight him every time.  I recall many a time, when she would come home and I could hear them arguing in our railroad apartment while I lay two rooms down in bed. It would get quiet and after a while  I would sneak a peek from my bed to see Barbara hitting our drunken father over the head with one of his beer bottles.  Not hard enough to do any real harm, but hard enough to make him leave our mother alone for a while.  Our dad died during my sixteenth year, and Barbara had been married for seven years by then.  After his death, Barbara once again became our mother’s caretaker (by appointing herself) and during all our mother’s illnesses it was Barbara who took her to the hospital, knew all her medications, and every illness our mother had ever had.  She was our mother’s self-appointed spokesperson.  There was a time during Barbara’s marriage that she and her husband and eldest daughter, Barbara moved to Oklahoma for her husband’s job.  She gave birth to her second daughter, Chrissy there.  It wasn’t long however, until she missed our mother so much that she won over her husband and they moved back to good old Brooklyn.  When they moved back here, they moved into an apartment on the second floor of the first house we ever lived in.  I believe it was the best time and the worst time for her.  She was glad to be so close to our mother again, but she now had a growing family to worry about as well and a husband, who was not quite so happy to live in the same house as his in-laws.  Our father had died during this period and after a time, Barbara and her family moved to their own apartment and Barbara now had three girls with her middle one, Kelly having been born.

Overall, it wasn’t easy during those years.  Barbara was a full-time mom and her husband provided the only source of income for them.  She did the best she could with whatever resources she had. Needless to say she was extremely stressed.  There is so much more that I could write about her life and my interactions with her, but it truly will be a book if I do.  So instead, I will shorten this somewhat and just tell you a few more memories I have of Barbara.

By the time her sister, Doris, who was seven years her senior, became ill while living in California, Barbara had five children of her own.  Four girls and a boy.  Karen being her youngest girl and John, Jr. being her only son.  I had my son, Rocky by then and we had lost our mother the year before.  Barbara and I flew to California together to try to help Doris who by this time was on life support after developing cirrhosis of the liver.  The plane ride it self was interesting to me as it was only the second time I had ever been on a plane.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people who have a built-in fear of riding in planes or for that matter, anything that takes away my sense of gravity.  Barbara on the other hand, hid any fears she had and was a true social butterfly. She would talk with anyone and would wander the plane while I sat petrified and glued to my seat.  On this flight to California, Barbara had been off socializing and came back to get me to move to the middle row and watch a movie that was being provided by the airline.  She convinced me to go and so there we were sitting in the middle aisle of the plane waiting for the movie to start.  Barbara, was talking to some people she had met earlier, who happened to be seated behind us, so her back was partially turned away from the screen.  A stewardess was coming toward where we were seated carrying a tray of drinks.  She tapped Barbara on the shoulder and as Barbara turned quickly to see who it was, she jumped up, knocking the tray out of the stewardess’ hands, and with drinks flying all over, proceeded to yell, “Oh my God, we’re going to crash!”.  Although, I was still afraid and now in complete shock as to what happened, I managed to calm her down and tell her it was just the stewardess with drinks for everyone.  I quickly learned that she was so afraid herself that when she saw the stewardess as quickly as she did, she thought it was oxygen and not cups.  We laughed about that for years afterward.

When we finally arrived in California, jet lagged and worried, we were met by Doris’ boyfriend and son. They took us to see Doris and together Barbara and I went into shock.  Beautiful auburned hair Doris, was now this frail woman with a head of gray hair, lying in this hospital bed hooked up to a respirator and all sorts of machines. She saw us and woke up briefly to whisper something to each of us and then fell back into her coma.  It was the strangest and most emotional moment in both of our lives.  We stayed in California for five days, and we knew from the doctors that Doris was gone and only being kept alive by a machine.  It was a devastating time for us, and for reasons I won’t discuss now, I had the agonizing decision to turn off that machine because Doris was brain-dead.  It took me five days to decide what to do and it was Barbara who was my rock.  It was Barbara who listened to my agonizing and if it were not for her, I do not honestly know if I would have come through that time  completely intact.  After that time, Barbara had developed a new-found trust in me and I felt it.  She always credited me with being a rock and the strength, when in reality it was her strength that I drew from.

During this period of our lives, my eldest son was going through a horrible disease known as nephrosis, and here again it was Barbara who gave me her quiet shoulder to lean on.  It was Barbara who had faith in our decisions about our son and it was Barbara who gave me the inner strength I needed to get through that awful time as well.

If I am to be openly honest, I have to say here that I owed so much to Barbara the sister whose inner strength, abundance of love and true mercy was my silent rock.  So when she needed help after developing metastasized cancer, I tried to be there for her.  It broke my heart to see her struggling through that illness, how it slowly devour every part of her physical being, but it never destroyed her inner strength, it never touched an ounce of her love for her husband and five children.  She fought hard to stay alive for them and for us, but it was not to be. She asked each of her siblings, me included, to watch out for her family.  She spoke to me in those last days about each and every one of them and how very well she knew each of them.  Her main and only concern was their welfare.  There was no one who was with her during that time who could deny the love she carried inside for each of them and the hopes and dreams she so worried would not be fulfilled if she was no longer around to carry through her part in those hopes.  I made her a number of promises then, and God only knows if I have fulfilled them all, but I have sincerely tried to live up to the faith she had in me.  Miss her?  So much more than these words or any words could tell you.  Wish she was here during the trying times that have followed since her death?  Part of me does and then part of me is grateful she was not alive to see the passing of her eldest daughter, Barbara at the age of forty-five leaving three children and a grandson behind.  I miss her strength and her knowing ways, but I am glad that her legacy includes eight grandchildren and a great-grandson, all of which may yet carry through all the hopes and dreams she always had for each of her children.

I have never met another person like my sister Barbara and I reckon to wager I never will.  She was the rarest of the rare with a pure and honest inner heart, that perhaps didn’t always have the knowledge or wherewithal to be ideal, but nevertheless, gave it every ounce of strength, love and faith she did possess.  She is the person, who will never be forgotten by anyone who has known her.  She is the person, who twenty-six years after her death, I still reminisce about and care about as much as ever.  She is the person, whose love for her family I still feel this very day.  I hope in my idealistic way of thinking sometimes, that she is in a spiritual place with our mother, our two sisters and her daughter and they are laughing their asses off at all the foolish things we still do everyday.  I hope, also, that she can feel the love we all still feel for her and that she comforts her spirit like a warm blanket on a cold wintry day with that love.  Reminiscing Barbara fills me with strength and hope and a sense of pride that perhaps, after all, we were the closest of sisters that could ever be.  Rest in peace, my sister, I love you still.

And that is the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

 

 

Peace on Earth

Christmas

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year. My heart rejoices remembering that once a year a Man was born who influenced millions with His acts of kindness, His teachings of love and peace, the sacrifice He made of His life so that people would believe that His Words were true and that He worshiped God in every way. His birthday allows me, among many others to give gifts and to have hope that peace will spread by remembering this Man’s wondrous life.

It is also a time for joy and laughter.  Family and friends who gather together to express their love for one another and to share in the happiness that this season brings.  How can one not be joyful?  One of my favorite activities is to decorate my home and try to make it welcoming and warm.  Of course, I never have enough time or money to make it the way I would truly like it to be, but like so many others, I do the best I can with what I have.

Recently, the news has been filled with acts of violence and hatred, war and strife.  It breaks my heart.  I believe we have come so far along in our attitudes toward each other and our hope for peace and harmony, yet what I read in the paper or on the Internet or TV, frightens me.  It dashes the hope that I had, especially in the year 2014, that people would end their historical biases and replace them with understanding, acceptance and goodwill. Extremists in every walk of life seem to be on the rise and their warped and hateful ideas are influencing people to harm one another. Those of us who believe as I do that the world is not such a bad place need to step up and overtake these extremists by acting with the example that the Man, Jesus Christ left us with.  To truly honor His birth we need to spread peace, hope and charity.  We need to believe in the goodness of all mankind and accept that people are different only on the outside.  Inside we are all human beings who experience the same emotions, the same health issues, and the same inquisitiveness. Only we can change the course of the future.  Only we can have the faith in humanity it takes to make that difference.  One person at a time, one idea at a time, one act of kindness at a time is all it will take to begin the spread of peace.  My remaining hope is that people wake up and realize the power they possess to change the way things are currently.  Help yourselves and help the world by remembering that Christmas is a Merry time.  Chanukah and Kwanza as well are Merry times.  Let’s rejoice in the fact that we are all human beings and celebrate that very miracle.  For it truly is a miracle that creates human beings and it bonds us together as nothing else could or would.

It truly doesn’t matter what color your skin is, or what job you hold, or how poor or rich you are those outside appearances are only superficial.  What truly matters is how open your heart is, how curious your mind is and how willing you are to have peace and harmony rule your life. Christmas is the perfect time to set these ideas in motion.  Spread this joy, this peace, this merriment.  Keep the positive side of this humanity alive and I am certain you will find that you have squelched the extremists because of it.  Believing in the power of humanity is the only “weapon” any of us will ever need to right the wrongs, gain the strength, and become joyous in every thing we say and do.  There is always going to be suffering.  People will get sick, people will be poor, people will have violence around them.  It is all part of the human condition.  There is always hope that a cure will be found, money will be earned, and the violence will end.  There is hope because the birth of a Man on Christmas Day gave us that.  Remembering the possibility of hope because we are all human is most times all we need. So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a Happy Kwanza and a wonderful, hopeful, peaceful New Year!

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K

Fourth of July

 

It’s amazing how quickly the time flies. A half a year has already gone by and the Fourth of July is upon us once again. Funny, it never seemed to go as quickly when I was younger. I can recall waiting for the holidays and it seemed to take forever before they materialized. I suppose the first holiday of the year that I enjoyed the most was the fourth of July. Not because there were firecrackers and noise, I still can’t stand that part, but I always liked getting to hold the sparklers in the evening outside our tenement. It was the one time I remember my parents being “outside” with me. There we would be standing outside the tenement on seventh avenue in Park Slope, all our neighbors joining in. Some would light the firecrackers in the “gutter” while most of us got to twirl those sparklers as our parents lit them. I can recall making sure to get the “punks” earlier in the day at the neighborhood candy store. The punks (something along the line of incense) would keep the light from one match and light up our sparklers best of all. The only part I didn’t enjoy was when the sparks from the sparklers would throw out the sparks that would land on my hands and arms and cause me to feel a tiny little burning sensation.  It was really nothing and never left a mark, but I would fuss because secretly they scared me somewhat.  My favorite part was the fourth of July food.  We always managed to have hot dogs and corn on the cob and watermelon and italian ices from our local pizza place.  All among my favorites as a child.

There was one incident I remember as a very small child where I did something so horrific that when I think about it today, I cringe.  After the fourth of July ended, I had to be around seven years old at the time, I found a hidden stash of sparklers in our apartment.  So I decided to light one inside the house.  I snuck into my brother’s room which was the tiniest room in the apartment and lit a sparkler with my mother’s matchbook.  Well it was stinging my hand a lot so I got really frightened and decided to throw the sparkler out the window, thinking to myself that by the time it got to the ground it would die out.  You see we lived on the top floor of a tenement above a store on seventh avenue at the time, so it had a long way to fall and blow out.  The only problem was that the window in the bedroom was connected by an “airshaft” meaning it was the portion of the tenement where the row of tenements were connected and down below there were papers and other paraphernalia which had been blown there.  Well that sparkler did not burn out, instead it caught fire to the papers that were at the bottom of the air shaft. Luckily for me the janitor in the building saw the smoke right away and doused the fire from the sparkler.  My Guardian Angel or the Universe or something had to be watching out for me that day because a  tragedy was avoided.  I did however, get severely punished and rightfully so, when the janitor came banging on our door wanting to know who threw the lit sparkler from the window.  I tried to deny it, but I never could keep my face from showing the truth and was found out.  From that day till this I have never touched nor lit a sparkler or any firework.  As a matter of fact, I truly don’t enjoy any type of fireworks anymore.  It just reminds me of a war zone.

As a matter of fact, it does amuse me when I see how excited children and adults get when they see the lights in the sky.  I often wonder what the beauty is in them.  I have tried to keep an open mind and enjoy the sight, but deep down it just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.  Perhaps my distaste stems from my associated punishment or from those tiny burning sensations, but whatever the reason, I will just keep “oohing and aching” with the rest of the world at the Fourth of July fireworks and be grateful that I am alive to see another year and another holiday pass by so quickly.  Most of all, I will keep looking forward to the current day celebration where there will be hot dogs, watermelon, corn on the cob and maybe even Italian ices to enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

 

fireworks-flag images

And that is the “Way I See It” here in Brooklyn.

K

Father’s Day 2014

First and foremost, A happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers in my life!

It has been said so many, many times almost any man can be a biological father, but it takes a “special man” to be a true father in every sense of the word. I happen to know a few in both categories. Today I will tell you about those fathers who are worth writing about, those men who show love to their children on a daily basis, those very “special men” who have touched a child’s life in such a profound way that the child grows into a productive, caring adult. These fathers are worth the time and effort every single day!

I never knew my biological father, only his name.  I was given an old blurry  picture of him once and I still look at it every now and again.  To be honest, I don’t even know why I care.  He didn’t seem to care about my biological mother nor me.  He just let her fend for herself.  However, I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a couple of  “fathers” in my life, so I always had a daddy.  One was my grandfather and the other my brother.  These very special men taught me values and gave of themselves to me every single day.  Their love for me still shines in my heart like a beacon that guides my every step.  Their advice resonates within my mind in every decision and/or choice I have to face.  It matters not to me what they did in life other than be my guiding lights.  I don’t know what would have become of me, if I did not know these special men, if they somehow were not thrown into my path, they took on the responsibility of taking care of me daily.  They taught me, they nurtured me, they advised me, they guided me and most of all, they loved me.

Deep down my wish is that every female child born in this world could experience and feel the love that I felt from these special men and from that, love by choice, have a way out of an imperfect life.  By far my life has been anything but “perfect” but because of my “fathers”, my life has been worthwhile and basically a fairly happy one.  I married a man who is a biological father and he is as good and as solid as the men in my life were and are.  He loves his children unconditionally and he is there for them every single day of their lives.  He is a true example of the label father.  I feel blessed and lucky that the fathers who have been directly involved in my upbringing have been men to admire, love and look up to.  These men have surely earned the title of daddy and welcome it wholeheartedly.

I also know many men who are biological fathers, but are not truly fathers.  Those men should be ashamed for there is nothing more precious nor sacred in life than the birth of your own child.  Yet, those men have made a choice to do little or nothing for their children. They choose to neglect their children instead of nurturing them. I pray that they wake up and realize what a precious responsibility and blessing they have been given.  I know men, who by no choice of their own, cannot have children, yet they make a choice to have a child in other ways and those men that I know, who have made this choice, are among the best fathers on the face of this planet.  They are more loving, more concerned, and more caring than if the children they father were from their own bodies.  Those men are angels sent from above and of that I have no doubt. I know men who are  single fathers, who either by divorce, death or separation are the kind of father every child wishes he or she had.  These men never relinquish their responsibility.  They don’t stop loving the child because the mother is not with them. They don’t neglect their children.  I have witnessed all of these men throughout my life.  Those experiences have given me an insight into what a father should be and can be.  If a man is truly a father their children will know it, remember it and cherish it, even if that man is not their biological father.  No matter what mistakes a child makes in life, if they have had a father they will get past those mistakes and they will live a life that is full, a life that gives back, a life that realizes love can be unconditional.  To have a father is to have a precious blessing and I truly feel very blessed for all the fathers in my life.

So I wish a very Happy Father’s Day to all those dads who have made a difference.  May you all always have the best in life.  May you all always feel love, compassion and joy each and every day.

That’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

“I’ll Remember”

Mmmm, mmmm
Say good-bye to not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say good-bye to not knowing how to cry
You taught me that

And I’ll remember the strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you saved me
I’ll remember

Inside I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing

And I’ll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you changed me
I’ll remember

I learned
To let go
Of the illusion that we can possess
I learned
To let go
I travel in stillness
And I’ll remember
Happiness
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Mmmmm… (I’ll remember)
Mmmmm…

And I’ll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you changed me
I’ll remember

No I’ve never been afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)

 
Writer(s): Madonna
Copyright: Webo Girl Publishing Inc., WB Music Corp.

K

Assuming I Am Right

According to the Wikipedia Dictionary the following is the definition of the word assume.

assume |əˈso͞om|
verb [ with obj. ]
1 suppose to be the case, without proof: you’re afraid of what people are going to assume about me | [ with clause ] : it is reasonable to assume that such changes have significant social effects | [ with obj. and infinitive ] : they were assumed to be foreign.
2 take or begin to have (power or responsibility): he assumed full responsibility for all organizational work.
• seize (power or control): the rebels assumed control of the capital.
3 take on (a specified quality, appearance, or extent): militant activity had assumed epidemic proportions.
• take on or adopt (a manner or identity), sometimes falsely: Oliver assumed an expression of penitence | she puts on a disguise, assumes a different persona, and cruises the squalid bars on the bad side of town | (as adj.assumed) : a man living under an assumed name.
DERIVATIVES
assumedly |-midlē| adverb
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin assumere, from ad- ‘toward’ + sumere ‘take.’

My definition of assume:  Don’t make an ass out of u and me!

Well I have been accused of “assuming” one too many times in my life and it has finally come to a head.  Most of my life I have had the uncanny ability to see things that most people don’t see.  Particularly when it comes to feelings and the like.  My error, however, has been in stating what I see and because I do that people assume that I am assuming!  It has happened to me more times than I can count!  My other error is that I care about people and their feelings.  I am extremely empathic which leads to a complicated string of events that for some reason always seem to turn around and bite me directly in my proverbial ass!

Most people I have observed don’t want to face their own fears nor do they want to face their own true feelings about any given subject.  I suppose it is a predominant trait of human nature to be that way.  However, I have never shared that particular human trait.  I am constantly facing my own inhibitions, fears, feelings, etc., etc.  Naturally I don’t like what I face any more than the next guy, but I do face them.  The problem comes in when I can see things that others cannot within themselves and trying to be Ms. Nice Guy, I try to help them out by opening a discussion about what I sense are worries and/or problems that they may be facing.  Instead of taking my words at face value though, most people see what  i say as projection of my own feelings when they are anything but my own feelings.  Ninety-nine percent of the time it results in the fact that I was right in what I stated, unfortunately, it does not present that way until much later on in the person’s life.  Once it does, they sometimes will admit to me that I was right, but most times they don’t.  What I do get when the incidence is happening is a statement that accuses me of being assuming.  It not easy being me.  Trust me.  I swallow this even though I know within myself that this statement about me is totally unjust and unfair.  It is rare that I come across a person who takes me at face value and realizes that what I have is insight.  That particular person or persons do not realize what a God send they are to me.  To acknowledge that I have an uncanny ability to foresee things that they have even yet to realize within themselves brings me total peace and comfort.  That is very rare though within my circle.

So I am peeved today.  Extremely and utterly peeved.  Perhaps I am a rare breed and perhaps most people don’t want to believe that I am any different from they are and I have never really argued the point with anyone.  I am however sure that I am not the only person on this earth with this ability nor do I think I will be the last.  I do know quite emphatically that it is a fact of life.  I sometimes wish I was daft and didn’t possess this insight as I call it.  I would be a lot less insulted. A lot less hurt.  A more peaceful human being within myself.  That just isn’t something I can control at will.  When I have this insight it is often spontaneous and I can no more stop it from coming than I could jump over the moon.  It’s in my face.  It’s in my every word.  It’s in my thoughts.  To not tell the person I care about that it exists would be like watching them drown and I would do nothing to save them.  I couldn’t nor wouldn’t do that.  That is why almost every time I swallow the hurt and the pain and the insults so that the person I have tried to help will actually have an opportunity to think about it and with any luck, act on it.

So all I want to say today is always  assume I am right because ninety-nine percent of the time I am and that my friends, is no assumption!

That is The Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

 

Memorial Day 2014

imageA memorial is a word used to denote remembering and honoring those who have gone before us. A memorial for a person is to recall his or her life. At the end of May there is a day designated through the years in modern times to recall the sacrifices made by our military. In remembering their ultimate sacrifice, their lives, we must also remember the sacrifices of the families who have lost their loved ones forever. “Lest We Never Forget” is something engraved forevermore in our minds our hearts. It is truly necessary and valuable for the rest of us to be grateful, it is just as valid and necessary for us to remember. Many of us will be celebrating the unofficial start of summer this weekend with outings and barbecues. It has just evolved into this type of “holiday”. However, we should also pause and recall the lives that were given so that those celebrations could freely take place. So let us honor and appreciate all of these sacrifices by displaying poppy flowers in plain view and casting our American Flag at half-staff as a sign throughout this great land that we do honor and remember. It is only through memorializing we will keep our pride and show our love for one another and for those who have died in our place. God Bless our military past, present and future. Forever will they remain in our hearts and minds.

 

Mother’s Day 2014

https://knap53.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/29-smile-a-little-smile-for-me-new-stereo-version.m4a

RLHJefandMags Helenahome

MommyandmeMammaplus   joan 1doriscopy Barbara   LilBarbara

This Sunday, May 11th is Mother’s Day and as I sit here thinking about that day that is set aside for Moms, I can’t help thinking about the moms I have had and the moms I know.  It is such a special event not because the card companies make money as well as all the florists and restaurants, but because it has come to be more than just a commercial gimmick.  Because of that commercial gimmick Moms of all walks of life are now recognized, celebrated and hopefully appreciated.  For me it has become a day of reflection as well as a day that allows me to sit back and appreciate the love that my children show me when they celebrate this day with me.  It’s a day that allows us to be together without thought of any others.  We are free to just be.  It fills me with tremendous joy to just “be” with my children.  It’s better than birthdays. It’s better than any other holiday to me.  It is the one day in the whole year when I really feel like I have accomplished something in life.  When I look upon my children and see how they have grown into fine human beings and how loving they are toward their own mates and their own offspring; it swells my heart with pride.  I know that my job as a mom was the best I could do and my children are a product of that job.  They are typical children with typical mischievous histories and typical angelic histories. They are also very special.  No matter what has ever transpired in our lives, my children have always been the kind of children everyone wishes they had.  I feel loved by my children. I feel respected by my children.  Don’t misunderstand me, they can make me cry as quick as they can make me laugh. They can ignore me as much as they can pay avid attention to me, but the one thing they have never done, either of them is disappoint me.  I have never been truly disappointed in either of my children and to me that is the ultimate gift that being a mother allows me.  If mother’s day celebrates that feeling than I want to be a full participant.  I want to bask in the glory of being able to spend a day with my children and enjoy them and love them and get away with all the kissy faces I can manage!

Mother’s Day is also a day for me to reflect on all the women I know in my life who are also mothers.  I watch as they dedicate themselves day after day to their children, sacrificing if the need arises, tiring themselves out till they hurt if their children need them, just doing the best they can every single day to let their children know they love them and are there for them.  I celebrate these women today as well.  I am so glad I know them and so glad they are part of my life in one way or another.  Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and all my friends who are moms!  I hope this Mother’s Day you will be celebrated loudly and cherished dearly, just as you are cherished quietly each and every day. Mother’s Day cannot pass without my thinking of the women who have been a mom to me.  My mom, Helen and my mother-in-law Teresa.  Without their love, guidance and strength I’m not so sure I would be as confident or caring as I find I am these days.

My mom was tough and soft; happy and cranky; a very complex and complicated woman to figure out.  The life she had growing up was extremely hard and didn’t get much better until later on in life, closer to her passing.  She had so few years to experience the luxury of life, though my brother, Tom tried to give it to her.  She was cheated out of most of what life had to offer and I always wish that she were here now so I could show her all the things that she missed out on and worship her as she should have been worshipped.  I wish I could just sit on her lap one more time and tell her, “I love you, Mommy”, even if she wouldn’t say it back to me.  I hope her spirit is now at rest and she feels all the love that she might not have felt during her lifetime.  I hope her spirit knows that she lives on in everyone she has left behind.  For a part of my mommy will always be a part of me.

My mother-in-law was also a very formidable woman.  Her entire life was dedicated to the health and well-being of her children and grandchildren.  She was a woman whose strength of convictions I have yet to see matched.  She loved fiercely without wavering.  She taught me many things in the years she was with us.  I don’t think I was ever able to express the depth of respect and love I felt for her, even though I tried in my own way to communicate.  We spoke different languages, she Italian and me English, so it was hard most times.  She raised her children with such a magnitude of love that they are still to this day the greatest bunch of people you could ever meet.  They carry on her legacy with their own children and their own values.  They are the ultimate of what a loving family consists of, they are close, they are caring, they are hard-working, they are proud, they are a unit.  My mother-in-law did a great job at being a mom and I can only hope that one day someone, somewhere will be able to say the same about me.

Last but far from the least, are my sisters and my niece who are no longer with us, but moms who have also passed. Their spirits live on in their children and their love of family and of life leaves all of us who remain a goal to thrive for.  Their lives were very short, but their generous spirits and their love of family and friends was phenomenal. Not a day passes when one of them or all of them doesn’t pass through my thoughts and cause a ripple of pain from missing them through my heart; or bring a smile to my lips just remembering something they said or did to make me laugh. So I hope that everyone will think of Mother’s Day in a new way today.  I hope that those of you who read my blog will realize that it wasn’t such a bad idea to commercialize a day for Mom’s as long as the sentiment that goes with it is practiced and remembered.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

IMG_0862 PS:  Song in this blog is dedicated to my Mom, who loved this song and often said she wished she was named Rosemary.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K