Love Shared Will Always Be Life’s Greatest Blessing

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s been a little over a week since my last post. Hopefully none of you noted my absence with a resounding, “Thank God!” Yes, I get a bit wordy sometimes, in much the same way that a Chihuahua gets a little testy at times. It’s a way of life. And here you are, still listening to me. I guess something must be working right.

Mom used to tell me that, when I was young, I barely spoke at all. I guess I was saving it up for later. Dad had to go on a job-related trip when I was about five or six and, while he was gone, I discovered my voice. When Dad called home, Mom said, “He’s started talking and he won’t stop!” Dad thought maybe she’d been into Granny’s secret elixir. I think Mom tried some of it on me as well.

But you know, talking has mostly served me well over the years. As a writer, I never had to worry about getting paid by the word. No employer was ever that gullible. As a comedian, there was always somebody in the back of the room with a flashlight telling me when it was time to shut up. I think some people in the audience tried that a few times.

And my wife has told me several times that, when we went on our first date, she was mostly attracted to my willingness to talk. That’s a nice way of saying it wasn’t my rippling biceps. But she’d been with her share of guys who talked with their hands, and I guess in that sense, it had to be a refreshing change of pace.

As I got out of bed this morning, she told me happy anniversary. It was 41 years ago today that we stood together and said, “I do.” It’s been a ride like we could never have imagined, but there’s no other person on this planet I’d rather have taken that ride with. We complete each other, rough edges and all. Sometimes like sandpaper, but the right progression of sandpaper can really make things shine.

To say we’ve been through a lot together is an understatement. With two daughters, four grandchildren, career successes and failures, and our share of profound loss, I’ve always known she was there at my side. And I never felt that more than I did two nights ago, as I said goodbye to my dad. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and somehow, I still feel blessed.

If you remember my last post, I had just taken Dad to the hospital. Things were looking up a bit, though I knew deep down that was a temporary reprieve. Recovery wasn’t in God’s master plan, and he slipped peacefully beyond this life just before midnight Sunday. I was at his side, along with my daughter and grandson, and his whole family had been with him in his final days and hours.

I had lots of good conversations with Dad in those final days. Last Friday, he told me about some of his days in the Navy, and for whatever reason, he recalled a co-worker who had just gotten married and brought his new wife to our house, probably 50 years ago. I had no idea that would be my last conversation with Dad. A few minutes later, he went to sleep and never really woke up again.

But I also know he was aware of what was happening, and of everyone who was gathered around him. Even in his last hours, when I’d put the phone to his ear, he was visibly attentive. The sense of hearing is the last to go, so much that it’s been suggested a person can still hear the voices around them for a couple of minutes after they pass. I believe that.

One of life’s greatest blessings is the opportunity to send a loved one to their final reward with expressions of gratitude and love. As I said in a post last night, most people don’t get that chance. And as hard as it is to let go, those final moments will remain in my memory as some of the most precious of my life.

I think it’s fitting that, on the same floor as the Hospice unit was the hospital’s birthing center. As one person leaves, another life begins. I thought of that every time I walked past. I’ve prayed a lot for all those little ones and their parents, wishing them all a relationship like I had with my mom and dad. There is no greater gift than love, a lesson Mom and Dad taught by example.

And when it was all over, I came home to the one person I knew would be there to comfort me like nobody else can. After all these years, a hug and kiss from my wife can somehow make all the bad things disappear, even if only for a moment. I just hope I’ve been able to do the same for her.

As I said in my last post, we never know what life has in store or when we’ll spend our final moments with somebody we love. Make the most of those moments. Heal any wounds and atone for any wrongs. Life is short, my friends. Don’t waste any opportunity to make it beautiful.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Remember the Good Times, and Always Give Thanks

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For those of us in the United States, today really isn’t the middle of the week, because tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of us are off work tomorrow, and a large percentage of us don’t have to work Friday. You know what that means? A day of stuffing ourselves with more food than we’d normally eat in a week, followed by a day of gas. Woohoo!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Family, food, and football, and I don’t have to go anywhere near the kitchen. Which is fine with me, because I’ve seen what my wife does in there, and let’s just say I stand with my back to the wall as she’s making stuffing. Even then, after the bird is cooked, she scoops that stuff back out of its behind and expects us to eat it?

We won’t actually be celebrating with a huge meal tomorrow, because my daughter (the nurse) has to work. So, we’re putting off the meal until Saturday. And I know, we shouldn’t be getting together at all this year. But we babysit the little ones after school, so it’s not like we haven’t been sharing germs all week. I don’t think one more day will make that much of a difference.

Besides, Thanksgiving isn’t really about seeing how quickly we can retire another pair of pants. It’s a day of giving thanks for the blessings we enjoy every day. It’s a day to appreciate family, friends, good food, good health, and a job that we hopefully don’t have to go back to until Monday. And believe me, with the year we’ve been through, we’ve earned it.

We all have our own traditions for Thanksgiving. In years gone by, it meant a 10-hour ride to Grandma’s, where dozens of other family members would pile in and share a three-bedroom country house with a tin roof and one bathroom. As kids, we slept in cars most of the time. That’s not all we did outside. Let’s just say there were never any weeds in Grandma’s shrubs.

You never knew which of our extended family would show up, and it was always a treat to see a cloud of dust coming down the dirt road as somebody else drove up. And you know, with all those people crammed into a small house, and all the hubbub of making dinner and homemade pies, I don’t recall any animosity or cross words at all. Everybody just got along.

The thing I remember the most was the smell of Grandma’s kitchen as the turkey slowly baked, desserts were whipped up, and we were recruited to churn butter, peel potatoes, and snap green beans. Dinner was an all-hands effort, and it was some of the best food ever. Or maybe it wasn’t. I can’t really remember. All I know is it was some of the happiest times of my life.

And for that, I’m thankful. I wish everybody had a Grandma like mine, with ten kids and God knows how many grandchildren. I have cousins I’ve never met, or if I have it was only once. We all came from different places and lived different lives. But somehow, we got along. We laughed. We played. We shared. And the memories of those times were the greatest gift ever.

Okay, I’m probably forgetting some of the inevitable conflict, but those are the things that tend to fade over time. Our brain can only hold so much, so it’s natural that we hang onto the good memories and set aside the bad. That’s what being thankful is all about. It’s about not just forgiving, but forgetting, and filling that vacuum with memories worth remembering.

So, wherever you are, whatever your plans for tomorrow (or any day), take a moment to think of the things for which you’re thankful. Think of somebody who has blessed your life in ways you may not have ever expressed. Then reach out and let them know. It may not be a big deal to you, but it may mean the world to them. And think of how good it’ll make you feel.

Thankfulness is a state of mind. It doesn’t mean we don’t want a little more or wish things could be a little better. It’s simply an acknowledgment that things really aren’t so bad and that, no matter what our station in life, we’ve all been blessed with a little more than we may deserve.

Inner peace comes from a simple acknowledgment of those blessings. You can’t do it if you’re carrying around baggage full of regret. If something needs to be fixed, fix it. If somebody needs forgiveness, give it. Today, tomorrow, and every day. That’s my wish for you, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved