Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lasagna in your trunk.

December 12th was the 8 year anniversary of my mother's passing away.

cember 12th was the 8 year anniversary of my mother's passing away.

Regardless of one's religious  or spiritual views, one thing that we can all agree on is that people live on in the hearts and minds of those that knew and loved them. For some, that is a lot of people. It certainly was in my mother's case. She touched the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people during her short time with us. She cared more than most. She went out of her way more than most. She made a difference to those that she knew and loved and to strangers too.

Strangers?  I can remember that when I was a teenager, she saw a homeless man and for some reason  he really pulled her heartstrings. She ran home and got blankets, sweaters, snacks and went right back to deliver them to the homeless man. She needed to do something for him.

She had a huge heart that knew no boundaries. Some would say that she cared too much. I would never say that. What I would say is that she was a little crazy…..maybe more than a little. For so many years it seemed as though she never left her house without a cooked turkey or a sheet of lasagna in a cooler in her trunk. After all, you never know when you might meet someone who needs a turkey or lasagna! When my cousin Jon married Marcella it seemed as though it was months before they made their own dinner. Why is that? Because early in the morning my mother would drop off a complete meal for the two of them. If my mother wanted you to have something, she figured out a way to get it to you, whether you wanted it or not. She was a master of covert operations.

While it may sound like she was more than a little annoying, she wasn't and nobody minded her eccentricities because it all came from a place of love. It all came from her heart. She spent her life taking care of those that she loved most, often neglecting her own needs and health. That is part of the reason why when diagnosed with cancer it was already at stage IV. Our lesson learned: you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.

My mother taught us many things. She taught us how to share and to care more and how that can make a difference. She taught us how to give without expecting anything in return. She taught us that when we do things for others, and it comes from our heart, there is no limit of how much we can give.

December 12 may be the anniversary of the day she died. It is certainly a day to remember her. In my case, so was 2 days ago And 4 days ago and 11 days ago. I can honestly say that I think about her every day and that I am not alone. She was extraordinarily close with my wife and my children, my brother and his family, cousins, neighbors, her accountant, insurance agent, colleagues and more. The day that she died may seem like an unusual reason for remembering her. But I see it as just one more reason to remember her. After all, I do it every day.

You may be gone, Mom. But you are still a part of our lives and that is how we keep you living forever.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old Stories

Age is different than it used to be. When I was a kid and my grandfather was 65 years old, he was a little old man. Back then many companies had mandatory retirement at age 65. Today people in their 60’s are an active, vital part of the workforce. It was rare that you met someone who was in their 80's and today it is a common occurrence. More and more I meet people in their 90's and I love it. Especially when these "mature” members of our community are still active and vital and ALERT!

Over the years I have gathered a few stories about these “Super Seniors”. This blog is written to share a few of these stories with you.

Meet Uncle Sam and Uncle Larry
Uncle Sam and Uncle Larry were identical twins, always have been and as far as I know, always will be. Sam lived to be 94 years old. When he passed the doctor said that Harry will probably pass within 30 days and he did. This is not uncommon for identical twins. It is also great that they both lived so long.

The story about Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam was a happy man. Most days were started with a couple of Bloody Mary's followed by a visit to the putting green right outside his door. He was happy for several reasons. One is that his hearing was not so good. I often say that he was happy because he hadn't heard anything that anybody said for 20 years. (Maybe we could learn from that!) Everyone knew that he had a hearing aid because we could all hear the ringing noise that it made. That is, everyone could hear it, but Uncle Sam.

After my great, wonderful and beautiful Aunt Elaine, Sam's wife of many years, passed away he got a much younger girlfriend who was only in her 70's.

The story is that one morning Sam's grandson's wife called to check on him and the conversation went like this.

" Grandpa Sam, it's Jenny"
" Who Is it?"
" it's Jenny. Steve's wife, Jenny.”
" I can’t hear you and don't know who this is, but I can't talk right now. I have just taken a Viagra and my girlfriends coming over." CLICK

There goes a happy 94-year-old man.

The story about Uncle Larry
One day I was out with my family and we ran into Uncle Larry at a deli close to where he lived. We had just a short conversation and he said one of the greatest things I have ever heard.

"Uncle Larry, how are you feeling?”
"The closer I get to 100, the worse I feel."

If that is not the good news and the bad news all rolled into one, then I don't know what is. 

My friend's aunt
My best friend's aunt passed away recently at the age of 91. Her mother had passed 14 years earlier at the age of 100. 

The story is that when the aunt was only 77 years old and her mother was 100 years old, she was visiting and talking to her mother and at one point her mother interrupted and said this:

"What are you complaining about? You have got your whole life ahead of you!”

That is something that most 77-year-olds don't hear from their mothers.

The Old Testament and my 93 year old grandmother.
The Old Testament tells us that we are to live to be 120 years old. It is common among Jewish people that on birthdays our birthday wish is "you should live to be 120".

My grandmother lived to be 93 years old and her mind was sharp and quick up to the very end…. except for one thing. She could not remember the punchline to this one story……

Molly Picon, a well-known actress within the Yiddish theater (she also played Yente, the Matchmaker in Fiddler On The Roof) would always greet people the same way on their birthday by saying “you should live to be 121.”

Someone asked “Molly, most people say that you should live to be 120. Why do you say 121?”

She replied saying “So you shouldn't die suddenly.”

May we all lead long and healthy lives. May we all live to be 121!

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Friday, December 2, 2011

30,000 Hits and No Bruises!

Today is the day. Today my hit counter says that my blog has been visited 30,000 times.  Actually, the last time that I looked it was 30,154. When I started this, I never dreamed that so many people would read and comment about it as well. My views, my thoughts, my opinions all seem to have resonated or touched many people who read my blog . Wow!

It is quite a pat on the back, or at least a confirmation that my views are valid. It tells me that what I have to say means something and not just to me but to you as well and that is why I write. I have always felt as though I have been blessed with a good attitude and perspective about life. Your visits to my blog tell me that I am right and encourage me to keep going. I have not always been consistent in my writing. Earlier this year I went almost 3 months without any new entries. Now I am back on track, motivated by your visits, support and comments.

I know that there are other blogs out there that get 30,000 visits a month, maybe a week or more. That's not me. My blog is not a business. It is an outlet for me when I have something to say. Truthfully I have a lot to say and just don't always make the time or discipline to sit down and write it. That may be a good thing for all of us. 

I do have a new favorite blog and it is doing quite well and rightfully so. It is called "Phoebes Stupid Cancer" and is the daily news about my friend's daughter's journey with cancer. It details her treatment and incredible perspective and spirit. It also tells us about the amazing people she is surrounded by and what a difference they are making to her. She has been writing for 30 days now and has already been viewed more than 4,000 times. I feel privileged to be included in her journey and humbled by the attention that she is getting and deserves.

It is the year's end and the beginning of the gratitude season. It is time to take stock of the many blessings and all the good fortune that we have had during this past year. It is time to make plans for the new year. 

My goal, my resolution is to give you all many good reasons to hit me, or at least visit my blog.

Participate. Make a difference. Live alive that matters.