First was Great Aunt Lucy. She had lived a long, fruitful life to the grand age of 95. She came from a long line of proud Italian Americans, with names like DePasquale, Cerretto, Gambino and Pannoni. She was a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great-great grandmother. She loved sewing and crocheting, making afghans for her children and grandchildren. She was my grandfathers’ sister-in-law. I met her only a few times, but she always struck me as a woman full of grace and was devoted to her family.
Second was my good friends’ sister, only 23 years of age. Again, someone I had only met a few times, but you couldn’t be in her presence and not know it. She was larger than life in many ways, living with an energy most of us can only imagine having. Her death is a tragedy that her family will likely never fully heal from, because it is like having a vital organ removed to lose a child, a sister, a wife. We can hope to remember her as she was at her best, laughing and loving and dancing like that moment was the only moment that mattered.
Finally we had to say goodbye to our devoted, ever faithful companion, Buster the Beagle. Buster lived a long good life too, managing to make it to 14. Unfortunately Buster had a long list ailments, and being a Beagle, he was devilishly smart and had one fatal flaw – he loved food and he figured out how to break into the lazysusan cupboard. I came home on Thursday to find he had gotten into the cupboard and ate a large quantity of chocolate chips. The toll on his already challenged internal system was too great. His pancreas couldn’t handle the toxins, and we had to bid him farewell yesterday. He had been The Bobs’ dog for longer than I have known The Bob. He was silly, exuberant, crafty, devilish, and a couch hog. He snored, shed, and gave the best kisses. He will be greatly missed. But in heaven you can as much chocolate as you want. Happy travels Buster.
Everyone, every living being, eventually passes from this life to whatever comes next. These losses remind me that each moment is important, and reminds me to stop being so worried about the stuff that doesn’t matter. To focus on the things that really are important – To hug the people I love as much as possible, to laugh as much as possible, to breathe, and be grateful for the joys and blessings I have. And to enjoy a good back scratch as often as possible.