A Week Later…

It’s been exactly a week since I got the news of Shirley’s death. I’m still kind of numb. Shirley has been gone for over a month and though I’ve only just found out she wasn’t physically among us. From the time of her death until I was notified she was still alive to me – Which is how I have to go on – Like she is still here…

I spent Monday morning by the water at Colt State Park, where Sai and I would go and talk (she would talk I would listen) those many mornings after work. Shirl would wrap her arm around my shoulder to get me to look her in the eye – Those crystal blue eyes filled with wisdom and compassion. I always felt like she could look right through me. Never being anyone to hold her tongue she would say” bubbie you need to face facts life is hard, no one gets a free ride.” You’re right Sai no free ride. I thought about that just as two gulls where flying by, one gull veered off and flew higher and the second one landed on a rock. I have no doubt Sai staged this as her goodbye…

One week down and a lifetime left without Sai, but she is still here – I just wish I could see her eyes one more time…

Ginnie

Life Without SAI…

It’s pouring rain, it seems the heavens are crying right along with me…

I went to the mailbox to retrieve my mail (something I often forget to do) among the AARP notices, and grocery flyers was a small white envelope with familiar or what I thought was familiar handwriting. The return address on the envelope was from a friend’s daughter in San Diego Ca. My first thought was, why is Shirley writing me from Jill’s? Eager to see what was going on with my friend, I opened the note a small card fell to the ground. I picked it up quickly and pulled out the note that was enclosed and read it – I froze reading the few simple lines over and over again but not being able to grasp what I was reading. Dear Ginny, So sorry to inform you of Shirley’s death. Our hearts are heavy. Jill

I don’t recall how long I stood in the parking lot feeling detached from the universe – I walked back to my condo numb, opened the door and cried. I cried the tears that only loss can bring the never-ending well of tears… Not only did Sai die, she died a month ago, her service was on July 5th! Where was I?  What was I doing? How could I be so oblivious? Why didn’t anyone inform me? Questions always follow loss, I wonder why? My next thought  was this would be a good breakfast discussion with Sai, only there aren’t going to be anymore breakfasts…

To write about our relationship would be akin to Tuesdays with Maury … Shirley and I met in 1978. I was a snot nosed new nursing grad working nights in a nursing home, for the summer. I decided to stay in RI and not move to New Orleans so I was working at the nursing home until I got a position at a hospital. It was a tumultuous time for me, I was twenty-one and unsure of everything…  Shirley took me under her wing she gave me the confidence to be the nurse I never thought I could become.

Shirley also taught me to love myself. She told me not be afraid to try things, to be an explorer. She gave me the gift of wonder-lust. I craved adventures and  I travelled and sought out new experiences.

When I started taking pictures with a small insta-matic, she encouraged me to pursue photography.  I bought my first 35mm Minolta and took thousands of slides. Then she introduced me to Stieglitz, Adams, artists like Wyeth and O’Keeffe. Shirley awakened my creative soul.

Sai loved I was in martial arts, she was one of the few people who championed my decision to leave nursing to open my own school. “Follow your heart love.”

Thirty four years of friendship – It was more than that. I recall her laughing when our paths crossed at a high school fashion show, because I introduced her to another friend of mine as my mentor. “Well, no one has ever called me that before!”  Not only was Sai my mentor she was a confidant, a kindred soul, an agony aunt, a friend… She got me through the first steps of real adulthood and took me to the precipice of middle age. Hugging, laughing, sharing books, adventures, solving the world’s problems over breakfasts… So how do I get from middle age to the golden years without her? I don’t know, but I think she’s passed  me some sort of torch. I need to be the kind of friend to my friends that Sai was to me…

Our last breakfast ended the way they always did, hugs at her car with goodbye and I love you…

So goodbye, my friend, I love you.

Ginnie

Whispers…

I know some of you are going to think I’m crazy — I’m not.  You may have had a few of these experiences. You just don’t recognize them as I do. I get intuitive whispers and I believe they are from family members who’ve passed…

Today for instance: As I approached an exit from a parking lot, I heard in my head “move way right.”  This was a two lane exit. I pulled over almost into the right turn lane. A few seconds later, a car sped into the lot on two wheels missing me by a foot. I would have been hit if I was  where I should have been.

Coincidence? — Maybe, I like to think it was dad helping me from the other side. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, just the most recent. It is my belief we all have spirits looking after us. We just need to listen closely tho their whispers…

Peace,

Ginnie

No Right Answer

I received a facebook message this morning from a former parent regarding the passing of her son’s friend. The friend was 19 – So often with death especially at this age leaves us questioning WHY?

Unfortunately there are no right answers – Life isn’t a multiple choice test, it’s an essay. Sometimes we get it and sometimes we don’t.  We need to be aware that life is an open book test and the answers are there to be found. We just have to be willing to look, realizing sometimes knowing the answer is scarier than not knowing. All I know for sure is every person and experience are there to teach us something.

Like I said no right answer, just more questions…

Peace,

Ginnie

Intersecting…

I’ve had to attend several wakes and funerals these past few months. These gatherings got me to thinking not so much about death but about life. More specifically how our lives often intersect each other.

Today as I sat during the funeral mass of a friends mother and saw all the people in the church. I couldn’t help noticing how many lives this woman touched directly or indirectly and the imprint she made on those lives.  Listening to the priest speak of her work at a local bank. I wondered if she waited on me when I lived in Newport?

As my eyes scanned the room there were the familiar faces of parents whose children I once taught. As we all exited  at the end of the service; A few of those parents approached me, filling me in on their childrens’ lives. I started to wonder about all the intersecting my life has done. Praying that there were more good than bad encounters. Which inspired me to be kinder to those who cross my path…

I guess the way to live an inspired life, is to know one day it will end…

Blessings,

Ginnie

Don’t Wait…

All to often we leave things unsaid, thinking we can leave it for tomorrow. Except as my father used to say; “Tomorrow never comes, its always today.”  No one is guaranteed another moment let alone another day. Don’t ever leave the presence of someone you love without telling them you love them. I got into this habit when my dad was dying of cancer. I always made my last words I love you dad to be sure those were the last words he heard – They were.

The problem is unless we know someone is terminally ill we never think this will be our last moment together. I no longer take that chance. Too many people I care about have gone without me saying those words. In fact I end all my phone conversations and my text messages that way. Get in the habit you’ll never have to regret what your last moment was with anyone.

Oh sorry to bring this up, but don’t forget it could be you who’s not around tomorrow! Do you want to leave this world with things left unsaid?

Love you,

Ginnie

Charlie…

Today’s blog is dedicated to my cousin Charlie. Today he turns 60! He’s been in my life or should I say I’ve been in his life 54.10 of those 60 years. He lived next door to me for many of those years, and still is my mom’s neighbor. Charl is more of a brother than a cousin.

You see he is an only child and with us living next door to each other, certain responsibilities were given to him regarding me. Such as walking with me to the school bus (back in the day meant a half mile walk to the corner of the road – not to the edge of the driveway). He taught me how to shoot a basket ball, how to gap spark plugs, and how to build model cars you know – The usual stuff…

We have so many shared memories, some fun like shooting hoops in his driveway. Some very scary like the day he witnessed his dad’s fatal heart attack. There are the poignant times like when he helped me bring my dog Abby to Angel Memorial Hospital in Boston even though he knew there was no hope for her.

He has been and continues to be  a blessing in my life, and to think not too long ago we almost lost him. Like his father he had a heart attack, only he was lucky EMS resuscitated him. He never talks about it although he lives everyday fully. Here’s hoping he has many more!

Happy 60th Charl

Gin

 

Sensing Changes…

Only two weeks into 2012 and I’m sensing some big changes – Not only in my life but in the lives of those around me…

Here are a few so far; One friend has lost her mother and another is losing her mom to cancer. Some of my former martial art students stopped by to visit from college,and shared experiences in their new lives.  One of my staff members had his eyes opened to the world of travel. A few of my students are spreading their wings in leadership training. A friend is contemplating an addition to her home – I’m contemplating renovations to mine (this however has been going on for 6 years). I’ve joined a committee to conduct a walk against bullying, and will be testing for an advanced martial art rank.

There will be a lot more changes I’m sure. Some will be unexpected, planned, happy and sad. However it is the only thing we can be sure of things will change…

Here’s hoping we have the good sense to recognize when its time for one – Maybe I will put in that new floor after all…

Ginnie

Celebration

My friends mom passed away, a few days ago. While we morn her passing, we also need to celebrate her life… All to often we deal with death by suppressing all the joy, the departed gave us. We all morn and should morn the death but I believe it is more important to celebrate the life.

Each person who enters this world departs it having touched many other lives. We may not all reach CNN status of hero but many of us are. Lucy lived a simple life raised two daughters and was a nursing assistant. An ordinary woman by many standards, she was extraordinary in the eyes of those who knew her. Lucy was a hero to her daughters,whom she loved, and beloved grandmother to their children. A loyal and trusted friend. She cared for strangers when they were ill. Who knows how much pain and suffering was eased by her presence?

I do know the world is better because she was in it, and isn’t that the legacy we all wish to leave?

Rest in peace Lucy,

 

Ginnie

Two Breaths…

Two breaths one to begin life and one to end life.  Each of these breaths are like a parentheses surrounding life…

I’ve witnessed each of these breaths as a student nurse, a nurse and a daughter and it never ceases to amaze me how fragile life is. Imagine we come to life with a breath! A baby only moments before was a fetus in its mother womb. Now appears  with a crying breath and a life has begun!

The final breaths, I witnessed as a nurse were far less heralded but just as miraculous… One minute a being with a life lived – No matter how long, is with us. Then there is a breath no longer followed by another and he is no longer among us…

I still have difficulty grasping the last breath. Maybe its because with the first breath we have experiences of what we hope the future will hold for a new life. All we have for the final breath are questions…

Most of us believe in a better place and that the soul or life force that left the body is still among us.  That belief comforts us. There will always be questions, but without questions how do we practice faith?

Breathe deeply friends, for the air is sweet and so is life…

Ginnie