Sunday, April 17, 2016

Thank You For The Love

I’m cleaning out my storage unit with a goal of nothing stored by the end of the year.  Not only will that save me $145 a month, it will also help simplify my life.

It’s funny how after Ted and Lateef died, I really wanted to get rid of a lot of stuff.  It’s almost as if I’ve decided that after I lost two of the most important people in my life, other things really had little meaning.  More succinctly, my losses are making me re-evaluate what’s really important in my life.  That’s a good thing, right?

Well, last month I made my journey to the storage unit to get boxes.  Remember my goal?  Five to seven boxes a month—out of the storage unit—into my garage—and out of my garage in a few days. 
I brought 7 boxes with me and one of them caught my attention immediately.  The box was marked “Sympathy and Get Well Cards”.  I put it to the side with the idea that I’d get to it, but it kept calling me so I sat down and opened the box.

Wow!!  Memories came flooding back as I looked through the cards and read the verses and personal messages from friends and family.  I remembered reading every single one of the Get Well cards to Ted and his smile as I read the sender’s name.  I remember reading the Sympathy cards—in a mind blur sometimes but thankful, nonetheless.  Also in that box was a set of index cards--the ones Rashida used for the tribute video for Ted.  All the words of love from his friends and family--the words that made him smile on a day that he thought he'd never smile again.  Today, rather than tears, I felt happiness that individuals would take time from their busy schedules to send messages of support to Ted and to me.  What a show of love this box was.  No wonder I had to hold onto them.  What shall I do with them?

I love scrapbooking and I know that I’m going to put together a memorial scrapbook for Ted and Lateef.  I haven’t had the courage to embark upon this project yet.  Maybe a year or two down the line I’ll feel more like it.  Until then, just looking at the sea of support is enough.

Thank you friends and family from the bottom of my heart.  And as Ted would say, “My heart is full.”

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I'm In The Bahamas Today

For a while, when Ted and I traveled, we’d always bring home a Starbucks cup from the area.  I have quite a collection and each morning I say “Where shall I go today?”  I pick a cup for my morning coffee and as I drink the magical, morning elixir I think about the good times that Ted and I had on that particular trip. 

This morning I am in the Bahamas, at least in my mind’s eye.  I see the beautiful blue ocean, the puffy, white cloud-filled sky and the grand cruise ship moored at the weathered dock in the background.

As I remember, I think of the last trip Ted and I took together.  It was December, 2013. He was sick on that trip but on this particular day he felt well enough to venture out to shore.  As we walked towards the shopping, we laughed at the fact that everywhere we went, absolutely everywhere, we found a Subway sandwich shop.  We stopped and took a picture in front of the store to send to Rashida.  It was an inside joke. 

Subway was Ted’s favorite store—basically not because the sandwiches were so good, but because wherever he went he could count on Subway to provide a consistently mediocre meal—neither plus nor minus—just in the middle.  Well on one cross country trip from San Francisco to New York, Rashida complained that everywhere they stopped, everywhere, Ted would only eat at Subway.  He wouldn’t try anything else. She told the story of passing through Tennessee (a place where she just knew they’d have some awesome barbecue).  She wanted to stop at one of the great looking restaurants they passed but Ted said “Nah, let’s just eat at Subway.”   Well that story became legend and so anywhere we went after that trip, we would laugh at the fact that we could always find a Subway.  I used to say, "Rashida, let’s eat at Subway today.”  She’d laugh, roll her eyes and we’d find one of the local restaurants instead.  Sometimes it would be a win—sometimes not, but at least it wasn’t boring.  So anyhow, fast forward to Nassau in the Bahamas.  We walked down the street and what should we see?  That’s right—Subway!  After taking our picture, we walked further down the street and found another staple—Starbucks.

We all loved Starbucks and wherever we traveled we knew we could depend on free WiFi and a great cup of coffee.  We’d taken to buying a Starbucks coffee cup for each place we visited and so we purchased a large Starbucks cup with “Bahamas” emblazoned on it; just below was a hugh conch shell superimposed on a design of the ocean.

I remember sitting in Count Basie square and watching the little children singing and dancing on the stage.  It was a beautiful, warm day and Christmas was everywhere except in the air.  It was cold back home but nice and warm here in Nassau.  Ted and I took selfies and held hands.  I was happy—we’d managed to carve out at least one good day.

So today, I’m in the Bahamas—basking in the warm memories of a time gone by.   Aahhhhh….

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Happy Spring - A Good Substitute For Sad

Spring is here in Huntersville, North Carolina and along with the lengthening of days, leaves returning to the trees, and the return of the birds, comes the lightening of my mood. 

I’m back to walking outdoors again where I can actually enjoy the landscape as it puts on its springtime clothes.  Even if it means that my head gets full of pollen and my nose and eyes start to itch, I’ll take it.

Spring is a time of renewal.  People come out of hiding, tending to their lawns and their bodies.  Joggers run by, walkers walk by and children skip by.  It’s just a lovely time of year.

I woke up this morning to my cell phone indicating that my youngest granddaughter was asking for a Facetime chat.  I pushed the accept button and her cute little face appeared on the Ipad screen just next to my bed.  “Hi, Grandma”, she squeaked, just so very happy to see me.  “Hi Ami” I said – “How are you this morning?”  “I’m fine, just wanted to say good morning.  I didn’t tell her that it was way too early to call me—I was just happy to see her.  We chatted for a little while, then I wished her a happy day, blew her a kiss and disconnected the call. 

I popped out of bed and realized that my back didn’t hurt this morning.  Must be the yoga and Cardio Funk classes.  I’d been exercising more and my body felt the better for it.  I said a grateful thank you for that and jumped into the shower.  This was going to be a great day!

Later that day, Rashida and I decided to do something about our front lawn.  We’d bought a townhouse just so we wouldn’t have to worry about yards and lawn but as luck would have it, our homeowner’s dues were paying for nothing right now.  A call to the property managers found out that we had fired one set of landscapers and the new ones were not scheduled to start for a week.  Oh, the heck with it, we thought.  We’ll just replace that crazy looking grass seed grass with sod and put some flowers in.  The new landscapers can take care of our grass when they finally show up.

Off to Lowe’s we went and after a few hours of cleaning out the winter debris, we laid down a beautiful, lush, carpet of grass and planted some really pretty marigolds along the border.  While doing that we met 3 neighbors.  Mike and Sylvia who had moved here to be closer to their grandchildren and Jim and Bunny who lived right behind us.  Mike and Sylvia live two doors down and are from New York—Brooklyn to be exact.  Mike is a talker and told me that he’ll probably talk my ears off once we put our rocking chairs on the porch.  Jim gave us all kinds of restaurant recommendations and short cuts for the ridiculousness that has become our freeway—we even have a Facebook page entitled I-77 Ridiculousness, but that’s a post for a different day.

A little later in the day I was driving to the supermarket.  The soft springtime sun fell across my face, warming it and making me glow from the inside out.  I had the windows rolled down and just as I was getting ready to make a left turn, the voice in my head said “I’m happy, really happy.”  I smiled.  Happy is a great substitute for sad.

I knew it was going to be a great day!