Friday, June 2, 2017

Little Feet and Big Shoes

It was eight years ago today that I heard a noise emanate from my father-in-law that I had never heard previously at any time in my life and that I have never heard again.  It was a hybrid - a melange if you will - of a scream, a sob, and a plea.  Joe emitted it within moments of having stood at the bedside of his bride, the indomitable Suzy B., as the last bit of fight left her tiny body.  If I live to be one thousand, I hope to whoever one directs such a hope to never hear that sound again.  Live it caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up.  It still does merely by thinking about it. 

Much has happened in my wife's family in the eight years since her hero, her mother, died in the wee small hours of June 2, 2009. Four of her eight grandchildren have married.  Two of the four are parents.  Suzanne, the only daughter of her only daughter just became a mother for the first time. Margaret Elizabeth Aldrich entered the world on May 6, 2017, which entrance she made in the morning's wee shall hours.  As if she knew she has a legacy to uphold.  It is possible she knew.  She is a genius.  

What follows here is what appeared in this space on that terrible Tuesday (day after Monday) morning eight years ago.  If you have a moment, when you finish reading it (or perhaps you prefer to do it in lieu of reading it, which is perfectly fine too), click on the link and listen to Warren Zevon's final masterpiece "Keep Me In Your Heart".  If you had the privilege and pleasure of knowing my mother-in-law, then perhaps hearing Zevon's exquisite marriage of words and music, which he created for his own family after having received his own terminal cancer diagnosis, will conjure up a particular memory of her in your mind's eye.  Maybe that conjuring will lead to a smile.  Or maybe you did not know her at all.  It matter not.  Spending a couple of minutes in quiet contemplation will almost certainly lead you to think of your very own "Suzy B." - a loved one taken away from you far too soon whose memory - whose legacy really - remains inextricably tied to your day-to-day.  

A hell of a nice thought to conjure.  I think that my mother-in-law would think so too...

TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2009

Next Stop - Pleasant Stream

At approximately 1:15 this morning, slightly more than eight months shy of her 50th wedding anniversary and ten months to the day since the death of her own mother, Suzanne Bozzomo - my Mom-in-law and one of this planet's truly beautiful souls, died. The little woman who stood bravely and defiantly in the face of always-advancing, never relenting cancer died in the presence of Suzanne (her oldest grandchild), Frank and Margaret (her two children), me (her son-in-law) and Joe, her husband and the great love of her life.

If all of us who walk this earth did half as much as Suzy B. did for those she loved - and asked for as little in return as she always did, then the planet would be a far better place. She lived her life by a simple creed - "Family first" - and not once, in the twenty years or so in which it had been my privilege and pleasure to know her, did she waver from it. She loved all of us, whether family by blood or by marriage, completely. She was an unabashedly enthusiastic supporter of her children and her grandchildren. Over the course of the past several years - even after she first was assailed by breast cancer (and perhaps even more so after that diagnosis was made in recognition of the fact that time was precious....and fleeting) - I cannot count the number of football games and/or wrestling matches I attended with her. And she was a frequent fan at basketball games involving one or more of her granddaughters, whether as a player or as a cheerleader.

Of all of the things Suzy B. was, perhaps her greatest attribute was that she was genuine. She did what she did, said what she said and felt what and how she felt regardless of whether it was the hip or cool thing to do. She worried not about being cutting edge - having learned long ago that after the edge is honed and the excess fluff is pared away the substantive part of the object, its meat as it were, remained. She was the meat, the substance in the lives of all she knew, all she loved and all who loved her.

And even in death, nothing changes. She will continue to be the substance in all of our lives - to be a presence for all of us to be guided by. Have a safe and peaceful journey Suzy B., you have most certainly earned it. We shall all miss you terribly and love you eternally.

Like buttons on a blouse indeed...

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for while
There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for while

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for while
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for while

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for while

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver's headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for while
These wheels keep turning but they're running out of steam
Keep me in your heart for while

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for while
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for while...





-AK

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