The Day the Magic Died…

Inspiration plays a large part in much of what I write about.  Opinions and experiences.  The multitude of memories tucked inside each event in my life finds motivation coming from many different directions.  At any given time, my writings may reflect a need to opine, even levy some critique at a person or issue.

This is not one of those times as what I share is, quite simply, a lament, even a humble tribute to someone special.

When your children marry, it can be a blessing to be graced with extended family, traditionally called “the in-laws”, a cold term, at least to me, and one that did not apply in our happy situation.  Our first meeting with our new family, post-engagement of our children, was as if we had been old friends sitting down to dinner and catching up on life.   Within less than ten minutes of getting together to discuss wedding plans, two people, relative strangers who could easily have chosen to keep a comfortable distance, quickly offered to help with the celebratory preparations. That was our beginning with Faye and Leo and has remained that way for the past twenty-five years.

At this moment, we are grieving the loss of a friend, and family, with Leo’s passing a few days ago.  He was so accomplished in all he did but, his greatest achievements (aside from his three children) were the absolute joys of his life… the two Grandsons shared by both our families.

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Part of his obituary reads…”An accomplished and highly skilled magician, Leo would constantly entertain family, friends and sometimes strangers with incredible card play, mentalism, and stagecraft.”  Yes, being with Leo was a magical experience and these words underestimate his ability to captivate others with his talents.  He could leave you breathless with his ingenious, slight-of-hand, tricks but always made you smile in the process.  His wisdom, endless stories, jokes, and the love he shared with everyone…these will forever stand as a testament to the wonderful man he was.

Leo passed away on June 25th, 2020.  Memories and the magic he left behind are immortal.  I think he would approve of these ceremonial words from The International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The magic of earth is over and the mystery of another realm awaits Leo and will be revealed.  All that he shared will remain in our memory as commemoration of his life.

No one entering this world can ever escape sadness. Each in turn must bear burdens, both rich and poor, and in turn, bid loved ones farewell. Each one must suffer that sad goodbye when loved ones come to that final moment, that each in turn must face. But for those who make this life a pledge to the human spirit, there comes the assurance of a memory that made life worth living.

 

workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Write a blog post inspired by the word: final

I had nothing to really contribute to this current week’s writing prompts, although I did write this about someone special in the lives of my family.  And then I thought…one prompt focused on the word final.  Well, what I’ve shared are my personal, final, thoughts about an individual so worth remembering.  What better way to honor the memory of someone than to have others, outside of our immediate circle, read about the terrific person he was?   I think Leo would enjoy that, immensely, he loved being the center of everyone’s attention.

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Bucket list…

The chance to say hello again is a gift, one not to be taken lightly.  

How many of us have had the opportunity to reconnect with family or friends separated by time and circumstances?  I’ve been blessed a great deal this past year which started with my high school reunion and the renewal of many friendships along with several new ones.  Then, something I dreamed would never take place finally did when the son I put up for adoption reached out to find me after forty-seven years, the best gift of all!

There was one more special reunion with someone who had always rested in a soft spot in my mind, a first love that went back to junior high school.  A simple message on Facebook one day opened a door to remembering, laughing and sharing two lives that painfully parted in typical teen-age heartbreak more than fifty years ago.  It was nice to talk once again, as old friends.

We both shared our stories of family drama, things everyone experiences, coping with all that is good, bad or indifferent.   He spoke about not fully understanding how and why things take a negative turn in life, especially his, but he did so with kindness and a certain acceptance that so much of what we deal with is God’s plan.

He had Cancer.  Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be exact.  He was in somewhat of a remission when we first started talking, his spirits were great and he spoke often about a favorite movie called “The Bucket List”.  He urged me to watch it and I asked if he had a list of his own, which he most certainly did.  The list was made up of just two things, buying himself a new Mercedes and taking a trip with a close friend to Mackinac Island.  It seems that his buddy was fixated on a movie called “Somewhere in Time” and wanted to visit the Michigan hotel where the film was made.  I smiled to myself, visualizing the two of them heading out on this road trip but encouraged him to grab that proverbial bucket and go! 

As too often happens where Cancer is concerned, things started deteriorating.  Our conversations became fewer as he again started Chemotherapy; it weakened him considerably and his positive spirit desperately struggled with the side-effects of the treatments.  A few weeks ago, I texted him to see how he was doing.  He replied “At hospital, talk later”   I never heard from him again, he passed away on September 1st.

Now, I keep thinking about the whole bucket list deal, about how we all need to have wishes and dreams, just as he did.   What’s important is to act on many of these things while we can.  Just do it!  Enjoy whatever life has to offer while there is still time.  Renew friendships, apologize where needed, make peace and move beyond past transgressions, walk in the rain, savor every sunrise, every sunset and catch snowflakes on your tongue.

Live….like you were dying.

 

 

From the inspiring Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop….”What were you blogging about last year at this time?  How have things changed?”

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I cheated a bit on this prompt, choosing not to change anything from one year ago when I wrote this post.   It’s kind of difficult to change anything about this story or re-write it with a new outlook.   Easier to reflect on an old friendship from simpler times and maybe, just maybe, start adding a few things to my own bucket list….while there’s still time!

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The Pillow

Photographs flashed across the screens, one blending into another, moving quickly, telling a story about him while sharing brief glimpses of their life together.

Over the years, his smile hadn’t changed.  The expressions on his face told the story of a strong, yet gentle, man.  Seeing them together told of the great love they had for each other. 

As the long line reached into the room, conversations were silenced by the sound of her tears.  She sat, clutching a pillow which must have still held his scent in its softness, dutifully listening to the words from each person who tried to ease her pain, trying to comprehend this loss she could not understand, even accept. 

Their future, which in so many ways had barely begun, was over.  As their memories danced across the screens, she held his pillow even tighter as if to keep him closer.  And…she cried.

 

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

 

This is my small tribute to a friend who passed away suddenly, a wonderful member of our club.  His loss will be felt greatly by all who knew him but even our grief cannot compare to that of his loving wife.

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