Wednesday, June 27, 2012


"The Three Amigos" - courtesy of Harold

Every day we deal with death.  Every.  Single.  Day.  From the people we've never met to the stories we read and hear to loved ones and acquaintances.  It happens.

In the past week, I've been personally connected to three deaths.  Yeah yeah yeah, the whole "it comes in threes" thing.  I'm sure if we looked more closely there might be more.  I always thought that concept was fairly random and arbitrary.

My friend Denise told me her Dad wasn't doing well a few weeks ago.  Sadly, he passed last week.  I hurt for Denise, whom I've known for about 20 years.  An old friend of my ex-wife's, Denise was in our wedding.  She and I reconnected on Facebook and I'm pleased to call her a good friend.

Earlier in that week, my old neighbor stopped by to say hello and told me almost matter of factly that his father wasn't doing well.  Our families have lived next to each other for almost 50 years yet I had no clue that he had a stroke back in January.  Sadly that's the way many neighborhoods have become - ours included.  Yet when I saw police cars and other people at their house last week, I knew something was bad.  To be sure, he had passed away that morning at 74.

Then came yesterday.  For reasons I can't - for the life of me - figure out, I felt the urge to reach out to my friend Harold about the health of his mother.  I knew she hadn't been well since roughly December, but had hoped that no news was good news.  Then I noticed both of Harold's sisters, Mary and Betty, had posted pictures of their mother.

And I hoped for the best...

Then I heard a beep.  It was my Facebook alert.  It was Harold.  His mom died yesterday.  For Harold, Tracy, and their kids, it was the fourth death in the span of just three years.  Tracy's mom and dad (both sweet people) had passed away, and their beloved Pembroke Welsh Corgi (and my dear friend), Scrappy died last September.

That's a lot of loss.  Especially for their two kids, the youngest of which is nine.

Those are the three grandparents in the photo at the top of the post.

"They" say that the powers that be (God, Allah, Jesus, Babe Ruth, mmmm...SATAN*??) only give us what we can handle.  Boy I hope that's the truth, because it sometimes seems like it's a bit too much.  Or maybe that's just a pithy way of saying "everything will be OK."

*Please note that I used the "SATAN" reference only so I could bring a little humor to a serious subject, and post a link to Dana Carvey as "The Church Lady."  As for Babe Ruth, well, he's fairly god-like.

As an extended part of their family, I have enjoyed many a BBQ with them.  I knew Tracy's parents, and Harold's mom.  No, I didn't know them well, and only saw Pat last August at a rainy, stormy gathering.  Once a rock of a woman, she wasn't getting around well.  Still it was nice to see her.  You want to talk hockey?  There was a woman - and a family - to talk hockey with.  We're talking a serious Rangers fan.  One who would have clearly loved to call Henrik Lundqvist "Lumberg" or other more salty things.  One who loved her Blueshirts, and reveled in the '94 Cup.  And yet - YET - leave it to her to bring the ultimate contrarian into the world.  Raise her kids in The Bronx and her son would become a Boston Bruins fan.  Sounds natural, right?  Of course, he would have to grow up to...ahem...HATE (yet grudgingly respect, in part for his friend - I hope) the Yankees.

She fought the good fight against the evil that is cancer.  My god, we've done so much - SO MUCH - in the medical field to eradicate various diseases, and stave off the impact of others.  Yet we have so far to go with cancer.

Of course, what this reminds me (and should remind you of) is that life is so precious.  I know, sounds trite and all, but it is true.  Whether we have some kind "closure" or a chance to say good bye, or if it is sudden, the simple truth is people can be here today, and gone tomorrow.  Seriously, I'm not talking rocket science.  It just means that we need to take stock.  I could tell the story of 1989, but I think I take that road too many times and don't want a friend of mine reminding me of retired baseball players and Waffle House syrup.*

*You won't get that joke.  Tim Parry will.

We get mired in too much junk.  Someone once said "love is all you need" (not my favorite tune), but it holds true.  Maybe I'm going in deep here, but the simple truth is that if you love someone, then that's enough.  The foolishness of cutting off people because of things like money, petty arguments, and if John Tortorella is a jackass or not is not worth it., and then we're gone.

It's just stuff!  Stupid stuff.  The root of all evil!

Harold and his family cherished their time with Pat.  Tracy did the same with her parents.  Denise and her dad.  My neighbors.

May each one of these people rest in peace.  For Pat, may that peace be somewhere along center ice, with a perfect view of Lord Stanley's chalice, and of a tremendous family that she raised.

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