We were married, had two cats and a Volvo sedan. Aunt Fran and Uncle Don opened up their home to all of us. They poo-poohed our idea to have the cats live in the garage.
Come to find out, our cats were still kittens. They climbed their draperies, carried loaves of bread up to the second floor and hid those loaves of bread under their beds. Aunt Fran and Uncle Don thought it was funny and charming.
Every night, after dinner and dishes, Aunt Fran and I would drink tea and watch MASH. We laughed together. Danny and Don were sometimes with us, sometimes they were in the garage or outside working. We were family. It was the easiest, most comfortable time of my life.
I felt loved, welcomed, and even more a part of Danny’s family.
We have so many memories. The cats destroying thier house, while Aunt Fran laughed at their antics. Uncle Don, who “hated cats” got down on all fours and rolled his round tin of chewing tobacco for the cats to play with.
Yesterday, Uncle Don passed away.
When your favorite people pass, the memories flood you with pictures, images, laughter, and that indefinable feeling of how blessed we are when people impact our lives. That impact could be in a flurry of a summer, or a lifetime. Or a moment.
Here is the apex of this roller coaster. I have so much gratitude for Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. They make me smile. They made me laugh. They were the most generous of souls I have ever known.
Here is the floor of the coaster. The world of beautiful souls who touch us, who make us think, feel, be loved, and who we lose.
It is sad. It is hard. It is excruciating.
Here is the hope. People who touch our lives. People who instruct our lives, who teach us to not be selfish. People who teach us to be kind instead of right. People who fight public or private battles but who do not complain. Our friends and our family who teach us how to be better.
These people give us hope. We can live in hope. We can snatch the moments of love and hold them.
I am holding the love of Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. I’m holding on to the lessons I learned from them about love and acceptance. I’m treasuring their love and all they gave us.
Tomorrow morning our community is coming together in love and support of our Happy Smackah, Frank Buck. The Happy Smackah is a tangible way to grip the rope of love that binds us to reality. I am grateful.