The Impact They Made

When I was 11 years old, my grandpa died. I knew him as a grandson would – a fun loving family member. This was the extent of how I knew him. I knew him in family situations. He loved to golf, went to church, laughed a lot, and snored when he napped. It wasn’t until he passed away that I learned more about him.

At the funeral home, I was introduced to SO many people. “You’re grandpa was one of a kind!” “I loved your grandpa!” “He was a good man.” “You’re grandpa loved you!” “I’m going to miss your grandpa very much.” People shared stories with me, told me of how important he was to them, and showed me a side of him I had no idea existed!

A recent blog I wrote about my Godmother spoke of “waiting in the line.” You can read it here:

I wrote that before I went to the funeral home to pay my respects. Little did I know that it was foreshadowing what would happen when I got there.

The doors opened at 3pm for the viewing. I dropped the kids off at Nana’s house so I could drive down. I arrived around 3:25pm. The parking lot was full. I didn’t find this odd, as it was a big funeral home and I figured that there were other families visiting someone who had passed away.

When I walked up to the doors, I opened them and was immediately met with a group of 10 people standing in a lobby-like area between two sets of doors. The creepy funeral home person greeted me and asked who I was there to see. When I told him, he explained that I was at the end of the line to get into the room where the viewing was taking place.

Slowly, the line crept forward as more and more people joined the back of the line. The line was now out the door and down the sidewalk leading to the funeral home. It was no doubt almost to the parking lot. When I finally entered the room where my Godmother was laid out, I could see that there were already many people who had been through the line and either sitting down or looking at the various picture boards.

As I waited my turn, I watched the video that was playing on the TV in the corner. There were so many pictures I had never seen before. Pictures of her graduation, her wedding, her grandchildren, family vacations, and someone had even put the picture I posted of her and I in the video montage. I was touched by that.

At the front of the line, I hugged and spoke with her two sons and her husband. Then I paused at the casket and silently prayed. As the line continued, I spoke with her sisters (my cousins) and had reached the end of the line. I looked around the room and it was pretty much standing room only and the line was still out the door. I walked out of the room and observed that the line was indeed almost 4 times as long as it was when I first arrived.

I smiled. Just like with my grandpa, I was witnessing a facet of my Godmother’s life that I was unaware of. As special as my Godmother was to me, I thought about all of these people that were there for her. I’m sure they all had their own special memories of her to share. I thought of how many people were walking up to her grandchildren and telling them, “Your grandma loved you very much!” She touched many lives and brought happiness to a lot of people.

In a previous blog, I wrote: I understand that death is a part of life.  I am reminded of a quote from my psychology class that said, “The hardest part of losing someone isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them – always having to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.”  This is so true.  Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time.”  Also true.  Bruce Lee, who died at the young age of 32, said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” 

In yet another previous blog I wrote: the late author Terry Pratchett says this: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”  This ties in with the “ripple effect” mentioned in the above picture. Life will go one long after we are gone, but as long as our stories are shared, or a memory is relived, or our name comes up – there are ripples. Based on the amount of people I saw this weekend, my Godmother will be leaving ripples for a long time.

In the meantime, we “adjust” to life without her …

Weekend Ride on the Emotional Rollercoaster of Life

It’s been a crazy past few days. On Friday, we took Andrew to the ENT to discuss the results of his sleep study. He has severe sleep apnea. Usually, this means that the tonsils or the adenoids need to come out to open up the airway. The doc took a look at his and said his tonsils were not too big and he didn’t think his adenoids were a problem either. So he did a scope in the office to look further.

The scope showed that he has laryngomalacia. This is something we are seeing more and more of in the sleep lab. Basically, there is extra tissue in the larynx.

This explains why his sleep is so crappy!! When he falls asleep, that floppy tissue blocks the airway.

Lateral view of child’s face showing blocked air flow caused by laryngomalacia.

So it looks like he will have some surgery to correct this in the near future. It will also mean 24-48 hours in the hospital. This will not be fun at all, as he loves to be on the go. I’m sure sitting in a room all day is not going to be pleasant at all! We are waiting on the hospital to call and schedule the surgery.

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My Godmother/cousin recently had a stroke. She is currently in hospice. I was able to see her over the weekend to say goodbye. It is never an easy thing to do. There were many people in the room, so I kept it pretty simple.

I’m not sure if it is just in Italian families or what, but at some point there was a stretch of years where certain members of the family didn’t speak to each other. I have no idea what it was about but I am sure that it was just stupid. Life is too short to lose that much time. This hits home a lot with my Godmother.

For years, I didn’t see her because of an argument that I wasn’t even a part of! Shortly after my grandmother passed away, my dad began to reach out to cousins that we hadn’t talk to. Thankfully, the peace was restored and I was reunited with my cousins.

I remember seeing her for the first time in forever and just hugging on her! I was so happy to see her. We spent a long time catching up. So many years lost to ridiculousness. So many things we both missed out on.

I am kicking myself because a week before, I was thinking about her and meant to call her and catch up. I never did. I regret that. I am grateful to have had a moment with her this weekend to tell her how much I love her.

My Godmother and me at Ella’s baby shower

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I’m not trying to make excuses, but I am an emotional eater. When I get stressed or worry – I snack. I made a lot of mistakes on my diet this week. I found myself grabbing goldfish crackers and “estimating” how many I had. We hadn’t gone grocery shopping, so almost all of the veggies were gone, so I snacked on crackers and stuff I shouldn’t have. I was completely ready to see a gain on the scale, but actually lost a pound this week. This brings my 10 week total weight loss to 30 pounds.

The heat and rain didn’t help much. It was hard to get my daily walks in last week.

30 pounds is progress and I am back on track. Sunday and Monday we got to go out and walk the neighborhood! Ella is making it a bit more difficult as she wants to walk instead of being in the stroller/wagon. He being out, does make it easy to get pictures, but she walks a LOT slower than I am used to.

A ray of morning sunshine

He puppy friend, Louie, was so excited to see her the other day he “ran” to the fence to say hello!

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I went to the store on Sunday and bought some new sand for Ella’s sandbox. We moved it to another part of the yard because where we had it, the sun beat down on it. We moved it to a shadier spot and both kids are playing in it. Andrew really doesn’t understand that the sand is not for eating … one would think that after the third time putting it in your mouth, you’d stop, right?!

The sandbox is just another example of how my kids will grow up to be best buddies. I love to watch them play together. I hope it stays warm for a while longer. I’m not sure just how they are going to handle being cooped up in the house all day in the winter.

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The range of emotions experienced this weekend was overwhelming. I’m hoping that things slow down and return to normal – whatever normal is!