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.

love

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.

Beach Remembrances, Tomatoes and Love

Sometimes a solitary morning walk on the beach can bring up a lot of memories. We have been in Hilton Head SC for the past couple of months and the morning walk on the beach has been the highlight of my day.

 This morning as I walked, I remembered many walks on the beach with my mom. Back in the day, she and Dad used to go to Florida for a month every winter, and I visited several times. Mom and I would don our running shoes every morning and head for a three mile walk on the beach. Most of the time Dad just let us be and did not join us. It was time for serious woman talk. As we walked we discussed a lot of things, like food, diets, hairstyles and clothing, but mostly we talked about the men in our lives.

Husbands, sons, brothers, uncles, no one was spared. We shared secrets and bounced ideas off each other. Sometimes we laughed our heads off. We were often irreverent, but it didn’t matter because there were no other ears listening. I can’t say that we solved the problems of the world on our walks but we each came away knowing that we were heard and taken seriously.

And that’s about all that matters, really.

I sure do miss those walks with my mom.

And then another thought popped into my head…

It was something a friend told me about a relationship she had many years ago.

“I love you”, he said.

“I love you too”, she said, “like a tomato.’

He went away happy, not knowing her relationship to tomatoes. She used to like them a lot, but she got tired of them and now she doesn’t eat tomatoes any more.

I am the same. I could say that I loved my ex like bread. Fact is, I used to love bread a lot. In more recent years I found that I had sensitivity to wheat bread such that every time I ate it I became sick and bloated for at least three days. I know now that I am much healthier and happier without wheat bread. (I’ll be writing more about this food sensitivity soon!)

And I’m much healthier and happier without my ex!

Nowadays I love my new husband like chocolate. I’ve always liked chocolate, but as the years pass I realize that I like it more and more. I love it so much I need some chocolate just about every day. And that makes me very happy.

These are just a couple of crazy thoughts I had while walking on the beach this morning. The nature of them tells me that I am finally starting to relax down here in Hilton Head. It’s been a long year of not feeling well and trying to find the source of my malaise. In fact, I haven’t felt like my old self in more than a year, since my shingles outbreak last year.

I think I’m getting closer.

 

 

 

Where Was God?

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a reflection of 2011? My physical transformation as well as my better health  were evident to all. I wrote about things that everyone could see, like speaking in public, getting a job and getting my book out there. Oh, and losing weight as well.

But then I received an interesting message from my pastor. He said he’d be interested in how all this transformation had connected with my spirituality. And he asked me where God was present throughout. Well that got me to thinking…

You see, the Transformation process is very much a spiritual one. I guess I was so excited to share the outward changes, that I forgot to mention the inner ones.

So here we go…

I learned to forgive in Step 8 and I got rid of bitterness and resentments from past hurts.

Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I learned to be grateful, and to express that gratefulness daily, for everything from my relationships and physical comfort to just being thankful for a sunny day or flowers blooming. I expressed this daily.

1 Thessalonians 5:18:  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I learned to have focus and intention in my life, rather than just ‘going with the flow’.

Habakkuk 2:2 Write the vision; make it plain, so he may run who reads it.

I learned to praise others for their accomplishments and their handling of adversity. At the same time I learned to be transparent about my life issues, my failings and vulnerabilities.

1Tim 1:5  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience…

I learned to accept responsibility for my own life and to let the people I love be responsible for their lives, rather than nagging and trying to change them.

Galatians 6:5  For every man shall bear his own burden.

I learned to treat my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is, and to take better care of it by eating healthy food and exercising.

1Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

As a serious person, I learned to see the lighter side of things, to not take myself so seriously and to laugh out loud.

Proverbs 15:15  …but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

And as I received love and acceptance from my group, I learned to love and accept others, warts and all.

These are just a few of the spiritual benefits of transforming. Others include meditation, organization and giving back to your community. I have to say that as my outward self changed, my spiritual self transformed as well.

God was with me all the way, and He still is.

Thanks Tim, for the reminder!