Tuesday, December 31, 2013


     I won't sugar coat it. 2013 was the worst year of my life and yet I am having a hard time letting it go. Another year past makes it that much longer since I have seen or heard my Mom, that much longer from the last call, the last hug, the last look.
     As others are saying, "Happy New Year" deep down I am thinking what is happy about it? I will enter another year without a special part of me. Life will never be the same.
     I know in my heart that I have to turn this around. It is hard while still grieving to do this. I know I was so blessed to have her in my life for as long as I did. I have a lifetime of memories to cherish. I have photos and notes and gifts that she gave me. Things she said stay in my mind but then there are the things that are vague that I can no longer call upon her memory to verify. Some things have been lost with her.
     New Year's Eve just seems like the culmination of several of the first milestones that we had to get over without her...her birthday, others of our birthdays without her, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas--six months of firsts. It seems weird that New Year's Eve is hitting me so hard since I can't remember the last New Year's Eve that I spent with her.
     Some may think I should keep all these thoughts personal. I am sharing them here for perhaps someone who is going through similar feelings. I know I am not alone. I hope you can find the strength to focus on the good things. I need to turn things around as best I can--remind myself that each day is a day closer to when we will be reunited once again. I know she would want me to be happy, and she would be sad to know how much happiness she took with her.
     I will get through this. We always do, don't we? Years ago I bought this neat little wall hanging that says, "Whatever!" I just dug it out from a pile on my desk and I am going to put it where I can see it every day. "Whatever!" is going to be my goal for 2014.
     Before you question this, I need to explain this plaque better. Inside of the letters of the word, "whatever" are written the following, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, whatever is honorable, think about these things. Phillipians 4:8. Remember...God is with you--whatever, whenever, wherever, forever!" I cannot think of a better New Year's resolution.
     So, before I archive 2013 as the worst year of my life, I will credit the year with a fun memory. I was honored to be the Grand Marshall in the East Hartland Fireman's Parade this year. It was such a fun "ride" and I, forever the one to "connect the dots", find it fun to remember another parade in East Hartland 52 years ago. We had lived in East Hartland only a few months when I was bestowed the honor of becoming one of the princesses in the bi-centennial parade. It is another long story about how I ended up with the honor, so I won't go into that at this time. I feel I've come full circle now. As fondly as I remember the first parade, I remember this last one and am thankful to all who made it possible. 
      See, I did find something positive. I hope you will have a New Year with many good "whatevers" to focus on.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Washingtons

Dear Friends,

I wanted to include my computer friends on my Christmas newsletter since you are a big part of my life too. Thank you for being a part of our lives. If I had hand written this, the i in Christmas would be dotted with a star and the t would be crossed high to remember the star they followed and the cross.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Special Man

My Uncle Joe

This has been a year of great loss for us, first my Mom and exactly five months later, my uncle who was also my Godfather.
It is true the visits with my Uncle were limited to only a few times a year when either we made the trek to NH or he came to visit us, sometimes with just his daughter, other times bringing my grandparents too, but they were always such happy times.
The love of card playing runs in the blood of my Dad's relatives. I'm sure we never visited his parents without playing cards. Whenever we were together we either played 45's or Setback. I remember at age seven nervously playing with the adults and hoping I did not make a wrong move to cause my team to lose. It was serious "play".
At my parents house on hot days, we would hang out in the pool. All visits would always include eating and talking. It was the talking that was the best part. My Uncle just loved to tell real life stories. He seemed like a magnet to funny things happening to him. Or maybe he just looked at the sunny side of life. He always made us laugh and to quote him, "was always the happiest when I could make somebody smile, chuckle or laugh".
He was also a man who was very creative and loved creating his own crafts. I don't think we ever left empty handed whether we visited him or he visited us. I could not believe even the last time I visited him in the nursing home, as limited as he was in his capabilities, he gave us a little craft he had recently made.
Here are some of the things he made and gave me.
I always could count on gifts at Christmas and my birthday. We both shared January birthdays, 5 days (but many years) apart. Part of the Christmas gift traditionally would be a box of chocolate covered cherries. I always think of him when I see them.
But the gift I remember the most came when I was about 13 for my birthday.  A large box arrived in the mail. When I opened it, it was like a treasure chest to me. There were about 20 paper back books from novels to non-fiction.  One was a book on writing--he knew I loved to write. It was a wonderful, delightful gift to receive so many books at one time. I always remember how special it was to me.
Uncle Joe often talked about writing a joke book. When he was in his 80's he got serious about it. He wrote down all original jokes on pieces of paper and then categorized them. I remember visiting him when he still lived in senior housing and he had the papers laid out on the table, chair, couch and coffee table. There was no place to sit! He had to carefully move them for us to be able to sit and visit. He let us have a preview of some of the jokes that he had written.
When he was in the nursing home, he continued writing jokes and my cousin decided to help him make this dream come true. At age 83, his book "Now THAT'S funny" was published. He had book signings at the nursing home, the first being on April Fool's Day.
I will treasure the remembrance of his loving, caring and especially fun spirit and he is an inspiration to know that you are never too old to make a dream come true.
I will always remember Uncle Joe with the greatest respect, love and a smile. I will leave with the quote that he used to close his book, "Gee I just love happy endings...Don't you? Think of me twice in a while. "Bye-Bye"."