Oh Captain! My Captain!

Laughter disappeared from our universe yesterday.  It’s doubtful that, in our lifetimes, most of us will know anyone else with the absolute genius of Robin Williams.

There is so much we didn’t know about Robin aside from his celebrity status.  Yes, the years he battled with his addictions have repeatedly been shared by the media trolls but underneath all of it was severe depression.  It plagued him.  Mercilessly.

I won’t begin to profess any great knowledge on this other than having paternal family members who suffered with this demonic affliction, as shared by a family historian.  Even today, those who have similar issues seem to be regarded in an almost uncomfortable, patronizing, manner by others.  How ironic that some major physical illness seems to warrant more compassion for an individual than some acute level of despondency which has its insidious grips on that person.   Somehow, society seems to follow a road of great difficulty in dealing with most levels of mental incapacitation.  People don’t want to understand, most choose to keep a safe distance away even when someone so desperately needs help.

All of this isn’t what brought me here to write today.   Robin Williams did.  Wonderful memories of his iconic face, brilliant talent and the emptiness he’s now left behind for all who admired him made me just want to note something on his behalf.   I tweeted earlier that Robin had me at Mork; from that point on, I was a loyal fan of this remarkable human being.  Like many, my heart hurts at his loss and for the unimaginable pain that caused him to leave his gift of laughter behind.

Oh Captain!  My Captain!  Carpe diem! 

You seized the day, Robin Williams!  You made our lives extraordinary!

 

 

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Things we leave behind…

 

 

As I stuck my hand into the half-empty box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I thought back to their visit which ended all too soon.  Back and forth texts with my daughter prior to their arrival gave me ideas on favorite food items for my two Grandsons.  This crunchy cereal was one and a nice departure from the Cheerios that always take up space in our pantry.  I made a mental note to myself to keep a box of this sugary sweetness on my grocery list from now on.  It was also a pleasant flashback; I visualized my Jake and Jaden sitting at our breakfast table, waiting for my morning hugs and kisses.

Visits with my Florida family inevitably bring about those necessary conversations that most of us have with our children, especially as we see our years slowly winding down.  Yes, I know, that’s what Wills are for but all of that legalese is nothing more than a road map which directs our loved ones over the things we leave behind; a cold, emotionless group of 8 1/2 by 14 inch pages which are an accounting of someone’s life.  Yet, without this paperwork, those conversations or scribbled notes tucked in a drawer which involve promises of just who will get this or that, often end up resulting in heated disputes.  The result?  Family members end up retreating behind a permanent wall of separation which was never the intent of the departed loved one.  Been there, done that with my late in-laws, do not want to repeat it!

Jen and I talked endlessly about stuff, my stuff.  I was adamant on how each of my children must share equally in the collections, memorabilia, jewelry, all precious to me and things I want my family to treasure and pass down for generations that will follow.   Boxes in the attic that will be opened each holiday season and have my family remember a story behind each Christmas ornament.  Cookware that my Grandchildren will use and remember when Gramma had their favorite meal simmering slowly on the stove. We walked through my home where I pointed out various items and shared the story behind each one.  Timeless pieces of jewelry that my two daughters will wear and lovingly pass down to their children.  Neatly labeled photographs that chronicle our beginnings as a family and others that survived being discarded during my late mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s.  And, of course, we had that conversation.  The uncomfortable one about what to do with me when I stop being…me.  Simple.  My philosophy is to leave the land to the living.  Just put me into something vintage and decorative.  Don’t scatter me over any body of water.  I can’t swim.

In my heart I know how overwhelmed my kids will be at some point in the future as they wade through years of memories and I so want each of them to hold on to all that was important to me and have it remain part of their lives, of their traditions.  Of course, my wishes, and my husband’s, will be outlined over an almost cryptic series of pages but I want my children to remember our present day special talks that will help them read between some specialized legal language.

Mostly, I want those I’ve loved so dearly to always remember that, while there might be far better things than any we leave behind, every memory that is packed away in some box, resting on a shelf or in a cabinet, belongs to them.  And, a note I’ve left tucked between the pages of a book, well, that will be a reminder to enjoy all the stuff that made me their Mom!

                                                    

                                                                  

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It’s happening…

I have a favorite holiday movie from many years ago.  Who doesn’t, you think while wondering just why the heck I’m bringing this up in August.

Let me explain.

It wasn’t the entire movie but one specific line that just flew into my head when I received a friend request on Facebook.  As I responded to this new/old friend from years ago I thought…”it’s happening!” 

I’ll explain further.

48 days from this very moment (less a few hours) my 50th high school reunion will be in full swing.  Over these last few months, classmates have been reaching out to each other with many of us learning so much about the lives we’ve lost touch with over these past years.  We spend time laughing, sharing and consoling as we rekindle friendships or, in my case, getting the chance to talk with those I once admired from a distance.  We are all bubbling over with excited anticipation as our big night draws closer.

So, how does this Christmas movie play in to all of this?

Well, at first I was hesitant, even ambivalent, about attending my reunion as I was always a bit of an outsider in high school.  I wrote about it last year, then gave it a great deal of thought.   The passing of years brings so many changes and attitudes can remain unmovable or they can soften, become eager to explore, and make up for lost time.  I wrote about that as well and remembered this 1977 holiday movie called The Gathering which was about a family separated by indifference and arguments who comes together again for a reunion.  At one point, the father, played by Ed Asner, exclaims “it’s happening” as everyone agrees to share the Christmas holiday.

Now, on September 20, 2014, a very large group of friends, some who were like family to each other during many years of school, will meet again for a very special gathering, a celebration of what we were and all we’ve become.  We will miss those who are unable to attend and softly speak of friends we’ve lost. 

Yes.  It’s happening!

 

 

 

 

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