Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There Goes Another Little Piece of My Life

Most of you reading this are probably a lot younger than I am, with most of your life ahead of you instead of behind you, so you may not understand this blog. That's okay ... just come back when you're older and maybe you will get it then.

One day, years ago, when my dad was in his early 90s, I asked him why he seemed so sad. He told me that his past was dying as, one by one, each person he had known in his younger years was departing. I didn't understand then ... but I am getting the picture now.

When I watched melanoma devour my 29-year-old daughter Jaime, I felt like I was losing her piece by piece. Whether it was the disease or the surgery to try to stop the cancer, all I could do was sit by her and hold her hand and love her while she left me one piece at a time.

Then when Jaime died, she took a huge part of me with her ... so many pieces from the past, present, and future. How many pieces did I have left? I have tried to make the most of what was left of me, with the love and support of my dear husband and sons ... but it is like trying to put together a puzzle with half the pieces missing.

Over the years since she has been gone, more pieces have disappeared ... her pets die, her husband becomes part of a new family, her car is traded in. Piece by piece, I grieve the lose of each one because it is a part of her that is no longer.

With each year that passes, I am losing more pieces of my past ... piece by piece ... although I really didn't think about it until this week. This week I was slapped in the face with reality; my past is being torn away, just like Jaime was, one piece at a time.

Last week  I received the news that Gary, my 1965  prom date (Fairmont West High School, Kettering, Ohio) and my first serious boyfriend (not counting Elvis), had died. Gary and I shared a past together of about 5 years during high school and college. It was a Romeo and Juliet-type romance, and like the play, it didn't end well. But he has always had a place in
my heart.

I last saw Gary at our 25th high school reunion; our 50th will be next year. We had a wonderful week-end catching up and learning about our families and current lives and the people we had become over our lost 20 years. After that we corresponded for a while and then lost touch. My thoughts and condolences are, of course, with his 4 sons and his ex-wife, whom I met and is delightful.

Gary's death has had a profound effect on me that I wasn't expecting. Every time I read one of my classmates' obituaries, even if I did not know them well, I feel like "there goes another little piece of my life." It seems so many are leaving me behind with memories once shared that now only live in me. Gary and I shared years of memories, some good and some not, but they were memories that only we shared. Now there is just me, mourning not only the loss of an old friend but also the pieces of me and my youth that he took with him.

Rest in peace, Gary ... goodbye, my friend. You were not perfect, but you were perfectly Gary! I'm glad you were a part of my life, and you will not be forgotten.

I am not a deep-thinker so this blog is giving me a headache, but please consider this as a reminder that we need to live each day the best we can because tomorrow is not promised. Tell your friends and loved ones what you want them to know because there might not be another chance. And work on your legacy so when your obituary is written, it will say that you kicked some butt or were a bonafide badass or really did something with the time you were here.

 “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” – Buddha

Melanoma Mama (Jaime's mom, Donna)

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  1. That is truly lovely Donna. Natalie x

  2. Yes, sadly the pieces keep falling.
    Where did all the years go to?