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.

Remembering My Mother

On this day three months ago we buried my mother.

September 10, 2014 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland was the most beautiful warm and sunshiny day. As in life my mother planned and organized many things, I’m pretty sure she planned this as well.

Dying was something my mother did with grace and gratitude. She spent the last nine weeks of her life in the hospital surrounded by family, friends, flowers and gifts. She was resplendent, covered with the most beautiful blanket which a friend had brought her. The nurses loved her so much; some of them said that taking care of my Mom changed the way they see patients and how they do their job. I guess the bottom line is that she didn’t complain and so being around her was always a privilege, even when she was uncomfortable.

In the days leading up to her death, many of my nieces and nephews called me in the hospital asking if I would pass the phone to Sitty, if she was feeling strong enough, so that they could say goodbye to her. She had kind and loving words for every one of them.

In her own words, “Don’t cry for me; this is a celebration! I have lived a full life and I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do. I am not afraid to die now. I have no regrets.”

How many people are able to say the same when looking death in the face? I guess they are the words of a life well lived, a 5G life because it was filled with Graciousness, Gratefulness, Gentleness, Gregariousness and Generosity.

I miss her. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of Mom, and wish I could have one more conversation with her. I wish I could tell her about issues in my life right now.

I miss answering her phone calls with, “G’morning Mah Dear.” And her little giggle.

I miss telling her about my craft shows and her giving words of encouragement. Mom was always my biggest cheerleader, and critic.

If I could have Mom for one more day I would talk to her about the family, how she decided to be so optimistic in the face of my sister’s illness, her own surgeries and recuperations and even how she always managed to have a smile on her face even when things were not going well.

If I could have Mom for one more day I would call her and talk about my kids. She would be happy for their successes and help me deal with their failures. She was especially fond of my Aaron, who could always use some “Sitty wisdom”.

If I could have Mom for one more day I would tell her that I love her, appreciate her, and that I am so proud that she’s my mom. I would tell her that she’s been a great mother, always supportive and that most of the time she knew when to say nothing.

I would tell her that her enthusiasm and optimism were so contagious that even when she knew she was dying she still looked for other options and she still made plans. Some of those plans never came to fruition but the point is, she made them.

In the last month of her life, which was spent in the hospital, she would call me and tell me how she couldn’t wait for me to come home so that she and I could go shopping for curtains and furnishings for her and Dad’s new apartment. She never did get to see the apartment because she was in a coma when the move took place and God took her home  the day after Dad spent his first night there, alone.

We waked Mom on my birthday, September 9th. I will always remember my 61st birthday as the only time I had so many family members present to sing Happy Birthday. I’m quite sure that was one of my mother’s many gifts to me.

Thanks Mom. I miss you. XO

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