Life Has to End, Love Doesn’t

My uncle died suddenly on Saturday. He was not just any uncle; he was my last uncle. When my mother died a little over two years ago, Uncle Eddie was the last living of her family, the last of the Martha Boulos (my sitty, my grandmother) family of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The house on 90 LeMarchant Road in St John’s is where they all grew up, Uncle Eddie, my mother and all nine siblings. The house is still there and it is still majestic and beautiful.

You know, we take things and people for granted, thinking they will always be there, and when they are not, there is a hole left in the fabric of the family. Uncle Eddie was there for many important seasons of my life and I will miss him. When I almost flunked out of university and wanted to just go get a job, Uncle Eddie did not let up on all the reasons why I should stay in school and finish what I had started. I listened.

I remember the day Uncle Eddie taught my sisters and me how to make baklava in my mother’s kitchen. He was in his element as we all stood around while he did the demonstration. It was the best time and I still make baklava a couple of times a year just like he showed us.

I remember going to his house in Mississauga and him putting on the loudest Lebanese music imaginable. He was kind of deaf; actually I think he was selectively deaf because sometimes I would say something in a low voice to Nazha and he would hear it; and just a few minutes later I would say something in a normal tone of voice and he would keep saying, “I can’t hear you.” And so I would repeat louder and louder, never really getting it that he was teasing me.

My uncle was there when Dave and I got married in 2009; it was a difficult trip for him, but he came anyway to take part in the celebration. I am so grateful for that.

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Mom and Uncle Eddie at my wedding.

He was there for two weeks in Corner Brook while my mother spent her last days in the hospital. He and my aunt Nazha walked every day from the hotel to the hospital to spend time with his last living sibling.

And then when I was going through a difficult time shortly after my mother’s death, I spent a week in Toronto with Uncle Eddie and Aunt Nazha, a time of love and healing. I’ll never forget their kindness.

I am eternally grateful for all the time I had with Eddie and I am happy that he is now out of pain. I’m sure that he’s in heaven right now dancing a happy dance with my mom and the rest of the family. That thought makes me smile.

You will live on in us Eddie. Rest in peace.

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Taken from The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Do you have someone in your life like Uncle Eddie? Make sure you tell him that you love and appreciate him before its too late. Life is short, shorter than you think.

Today I choose Hope

Positivity No Negativity Challenge

Day 38 of 84

As the month of December marches on, I start to feel the tension building. It is getting more and more difficult to push out the negativity and to be positive. I have made my lists of things to do, gifts to buy and menus to plan. After all, my children are coming home for Christmas and I should be happy. I want to make a memorable family time for them, especially my daughter-in-law who has never experienced a traditional Canadian Christmas. I’ve bought her a Christmas stocking in anticipation of filling it with some little love gifts. There is prepared food at the ready in the freezer. The house is decorated. So what’s wrong with me? The holy music is playing.

Why am I not happy, merry and bright? Isn’t Jesus the reason for the season anyway?

Well yes.

But amidst all the cheery greetings, planning and parties, real life has crept in, and frankly, I am not feeling that merry, happy and peaceful at all.

When the cashier at Superstore wishes me Merry Christmas, I’m thinking of my son who will be coming home in the next few days with his concussion, and I worry about his health, his deferred exams and the success of his university year. I hope he will recover soon and be able to get back to his studies.

And when people send wishes with Happy Holidays written on them, I think of my old car, still sitting on a car lot waiting to be sold, and the bills waiting to be paid with the money from the non-existent sale. I hope the person who is supposed to look at it this afternoon will buy it.

Someone wished me Peace at Christmas and all I could think about is my precious mother, in a hospital bed in Newfoundland, waiting for test results that could devastate the family. I think of my father who is getting tired and discouraged with her condition and I hope for a positive result. I hope that Mom will soon be feeling better.

I think that what I am missing right now is that Hope. But what exactly is it? Wikipedia tells me that it is the state, which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large. Hmm…I do have a desire for a positive outcome in all these situations.

The Bible says that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

I can’t really see the outcomes right now, but I can believe that God will work things out according to His plan.

And Jerome Groopman, in The Anatomy of Hope, tells me that Hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them.

So if I have faith, and hope that all these situations will resolve themselves one way or another, it will give me the courage to march right through them.

This is powerful stuff here. By having Hope, my negative gloom and doom attitude can change to a more joyful and positive one.

Today I choose Hope.

hopeToday I am grateful for:

1. My sister who left her family for a couple of weeks to be with Mom

2. A visit with my cousin yesterday

3. The doctors and a certain nurse at the hospital

4. Finding the book I was looking for

5. Hope

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Christmas Cards For A Motley Group

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 36 of 84

Do you still send Christmas cards?

I remember, as a child growing up in Newfoundland, seeing piles of mail in the box the closer we got to Christmas. There were greeting cards of every size and color, coming from all over North America and some from Overseas.

It was a great opportunity for adding stamps to my growing collection!

The cards usually included Christmas greetings as well as hand written notes from Auntie Doris, Uncle Joe, or another family member, friend or neighbour who had moved away. Sometimes there would even be a photo included. Once opened they were either displayed somewhere on a mantle, taped to the wall, or put in a basket and left out for perusing.

Christmas card giving was an integral tradition of the season.

As the years have passed, so has the quantity of Christmas cards. I know, there are practical reasons why we don’t send them any more: we’re saving the planet, we’re saving money, and the most prevalent one, we’re so busy we don’t have time to send cards and write notes any more. Many people send either e-cards or no cards at all.

Dave and I still send cards, although not as many as our parents did. The early December ritual is alive and well at our house.

So this morning as I was looking over the list of people I’ll be sending Christmas cards to this year, I started thinking of each one of them. One has had a recent death in the family, another is fighting a devastating illness, and yet another has recently become a grandmother. There are others who were old friends from a long time ago and we still keep in touch through Facebook or by phone. Some live alone now either because of divorce, death or an empty nest. Some suffer from depression.

A motley group, and I am sure my name fits in on someone else’s motley group, in some other category.

I’ll be writing my Christmas cards this week and including a little note; the time it takes will be time they will be in my prayers and I will think of each of them with love.

And I will wish them happiness and hope.

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 Today I am grateful for:

1. The Christmas cards received so far

2. All my friends and family that I am thinking of today

3. The rain pounding down right now that is not snow

4. People from my church that I will be dining with today

5. My parents

 

 

 

Positivity Starts At Home

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 33 of 84

 When I was growing up I often heard the expression, “Charity begins at home.” Well, what does that mean? Does anyone even use that expression any more? What is Charity?

The expression meant that you should take care of your family and people close to you before you worry about helping others. What was implied was that the church should worry less about foreign aid and focus on helping the needy here at home. And finally, if you really want to make the world a better place, start by being polite to your sister. Charity begins at home.

Today I am suggesting that like charity, positivity begins at home. Can you imagine being a scowling, grumbling grouch at home and then going out to greet the world with a big smile and a helpful attitude? I know, it happens, but the face you put on for your family is your real face, not the one everyone else sees. It’s the face that shows your true disposition.

Family is our greatest treasure and our incredible joy, and when we finally realize that fact, we can cultivate a happy and loving one. If we speak kindly, tell our children and spouses that we love them and follow up with respect for them, then we will have a happy and positive life.

On days that I am the scowling, grumbling grouch that goes out the door and then pastes on the smile for my friends to see, I don’t feel very positive about myself. I feel like a phony and sad that I wasn’t kind and loving to the people that mean the very most to me in the whole world.

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Here are some ways to be positive at home:

– Keep the house free of clutter; make it peaceful

– Cherish your family by making a healthy meal

– Make someone’s bed

– Smile, smile, smile

– Have a kind word for a family member who is struggling

– Put candles on the table at mealtime, and light them

– Say, “Thank you!”

Ok, now its your turn.  How will you find ways to be positive at home this weekend?

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  Today I am happy and grateful for:

1. My family

2. Supper all prepared for me last evening

3. A confidante who is helping me to become a better person

4. People who read my blog and encourage me

5. Prayers of so many people after my son’s accident