The Shadow Your Smile

November 17, 2016

I am burying my Dad today.

How did we get here? A man who, until ALS imprisoned his body, walked a minimum of 2 miles a day – rain, snow or sunshine – and who worked out at the gym three times a week – physically fit and mentally sharper than most of us on a good day. Up until the very last day of his life he was still planning, inventing and learning.

He was an artist in the every sense – cartoon sketches filled the margins of the daily newspaper and covered not only the return envelopes of bills but also every napkin in the house. An accomplished pianist, he played in several jazzy bands from the forties through the sixties, and every evening before supper, he tinkled those ivories. The melodic notes would float out of the window and onto the street on many a summer evening, causing people to look up as they walked by the house. A favorite was The Shadow of Your Smile…each note of that song is embedded in the very fibers of my being…and today I am thinking of how appropriate that song is.

He never stopped “living.” At the height of his illness, when asked how he was doing, his standard reply was “Pretty good!”…even though he had become a prisoner in his own body. Dad always saw the silver lining in life and was not one who believed in problems, only solutions. He loved his family – we were everything – and he forever loved my mother like the 25 year old young man who first saw her, standing on the church steps at the wedding of a mutual friend. She was his lover, muse and best friend….I believe the term for that is “Soul Mate.”

He would constantly remind us to celebrate everything – and so I will, Dad…

…as I remember the shadow of  your smile.







Journey of Love – Part 2

November 19, 2011

I’ve been thinking about the piece Journey of Love that I wrote last week. Someone read it and commented “different journey for different people” and I took a moment to really think about that. When I wrote it, I was only thinking about my own marriage and how if it were ever in jeopardy I would fight tooth and nail to keep that love alive….but for some, like my friend – perhaps the love is just….gone. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life, when love is gone…it’s gone, and all that’s left is a huge gray space that consumes you. The wind just whistles through the hole in your heart for the whole world to hearand the gray seeps through your skin, clouds your eyes, leaving you a ghost of who  you once were. You feel like an empty shell floating through the day…going through the motions so that you can get from morning to night to morning again.  Walking aimlessly,walking  lost –  because your heart is not there to guide you, to comfort you and no amount of talking or crying will help. At that point – walking away is like waking up…you are at least moving in a direction. Like stepping on broken glass,every step is painful – but  you are walking towards a place where you can stand  in a pain free zone, no matter how far away that place might seem to be and you know somewhere deep inside that it is there – if you just face forward and focus on the horizon.

So maybe for this woman – perhaps the journey of love has brought her to an uncomfortable and frightening fork in the road – clouds on one side, a forest on the other. It’s not a place that I would ever want to find myself, although I have stood where she stands now…and what I know is that the only way I got to my Place of Love was to take a step forward at that fork….so I am here – on the other side where love lives  and the best I can do is to extend my hand to help steady her as she takes one step or the other and  let her know that the sun is out   here….and it’s a beautiful day.

There is hope…there is always hope.

Butterflies are free

December 30, 2010

There is nothing like the holiday season to remind you about the value of forgiveness and how we chain ourselves to our hurt. I don’t think we even realize that we’re doing it – it just feels so comfortable and dammit – we earned the right! …….Or so we tell ourselves. But truthfully, we are only turning the key into the lock of pain’s prison and the funny part is that we are always in possession of that key – that key of redemption, that once we turn and open – butterflies rush out -reminding us that we are alive and that we can move forward.

What happened behind us – is indeed behind us. We have to let go because no matter how many ways we replay it in our minds  – what’s done is done and we can’t change it….there is no DeLorean coming for us – no way to go back and undo or redo….that vehicle left when it did and now we must move on -one step at a time – one foot in front of the other.

If you do nothing else this New Year…forgive – forgive others and most importantly – Forgive Yourself….I promise that you’ll feel better – you will come alive and realize that you’ve been asleep all this time…a thousand butterflies will fly out and you will know that you are free.