A few days ago I heard the news of the passing of a former coworker. She had been diagnosed with cancer a few years back resulting in her retiring from a job she loved. We reconnected through Facebook and I was inspired by her outlook of her future. She maintained an attitude of gratitude throughout her cancer experience and although there were times her energy was barely measurable, she continued to live her life fully!
Reading the outpouring of love, sadness, disbelief, and grief on her Facebook page I remembered a journal entry from a couple months ago. Back then my original intention was to post this on my blog but apparently the timing was not right.
Today is the day…in-joy…
March 5, 2016
This has been an incredible weekend teeming with love in so many places, on so many levels I just have to let it out!
It began with attending a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band River Tour concert! It has been way too many years since my husband and I had attended one of Bruce’s concerts and I was thrilled to score tickets and present them to my hubby this past Christmas even though we stopped getting each other gifts a few Christmases ago!
We were both raised in Jersey, have strolled the boardwalk in Asbury Park, know where the Stone Pony is located as well as one of his former residences in Jersey, and have always felt that familial connection to The Boss.
So, on Thursday we headed to Milwaukee for a night of Rock ‘n Roll and sweet slumber to follow at our favorite boutique hotel, the Hotel Metro. We opted for cocktails and small plates in the hotel bar before heading to the concert venue.
The dinner setting was perfect, soft lighting, the hum of conversation around us, and a delightful waiter. Afterwards we wrapped ourselves warmly against the end of winter temps and decided to walk the ten blocks to the venue. Our route took us on the walk alongside the Milwaukee River and while the temps were a bit on the cool side, the yummy food we just ate and the excited anticipation of the concert kept us warm enough!
We settled into our seats and waited…I found myself on several occasions holding my breath! Good grief, I felt like a giddy teenager about to be ‘personally’ wooed by the latest teenage heartthrob! As I watched people enter the venue and find their seats I was struck by the knowledge that the average age of this crowd was going to be somewhere between 55-65. I shared this with my husband, the women sitting behind us, and we all had a good chuckle and swapped Springsteen concert stories.
And then, they took the stage! The venue erupted in ‘BRUUUUUUCE’, and he graciously saluted all four corners. For more than 3 solid hours Bruce and the band enthralled everyone in attendance and as the concert went on I could feel the love, the love the audience had for the man on the stage, and the love the man on the stage had for the audience and his band mates! It was so intoxicating and I felt like I could ride this tidal wave of emotion for a very, very long time!
At one point, nearly everyone were on their feet, singing and dancing, and as I looked around I thought, all these thousands of people, loving these moments and each other-this is how one stays young at heart!
As Bruce drew the show to a close, these thousands of happy people began to make their way down steep steps and out into the cold Milwaukee night. We walked back to our hotel, still warm and glowing from the best damn concert I have ever been to! My dreams that night were some of the most vivid I have had in quite some time and I woke still feeling the love of the night before.
The next morning we headed to the airport to pick up our son who is staying with us for a couple months before heading off to graduate school. Now, we were as excited to see him as the BOSS the night before, it had been a little more than a year since we saw him last. As we walked into the main terminal, my eyes began to scan the room and there he was. We spotted each other and he jumped out of the seat-my heart leapt to see this tall, lanky man-my baby always, yet no longer. He wrapped his arms around me in a strong embrace that I did not want to end, and then he quietly whispered, ‘sorry I stink so bad’. Red-eye flights have some distinct disadvantages although my nose only smelled joy!
A couple of hours later, our dog Jasper met our son for the first time. Just as we anticipated a mutual admiration society was quickly formed! My heart grew bigger watching the two of them together. Many years ago when we bid our dog Tron good-by, it was heart wrenching and my son shared with me back then that it felt like his younger brother was gone, indeed the two had grown up together. So this happy meeting was a long time coming.
We all napped that afternoon before heading over to my daughter’s for dinner. Her children were anxious to see their ‘Uncle Pyle’ again. It had been nearly 2 years since he moved from the basement of their house to Florida and these two are now 4 and 5 years old. They both thought they might be a bit shy at first but within 90 seconds of their uncle entering the house the squeals of laughter were ringing! My granddaughter Hannah came running to me breathlessly telling me Uncle Kyle was here! Of course, I teasingly reminded her that he drove over with me! I love the pure happiness in a child’s face!
As we sat down to dinner together, I looked around the table, my little family was together again after too many years! And then it happened, again, my heart grew to nearly bursting and I could feel the tears brimming on the edge of my eyes. I managed not to cry for I knew my daughter might look at me and say, ‘really mom’ in her loving way. Instead, I took an easy breath; looked at the faces of these people I love so dearly and felt such deep gratitude to have this time together. To see them happily chatting and catching up, my grandchildren eager to finish and get back to playing with their uncle, and my husband, quietly absorbing it all…
So for the next little while our son will be staying with us and I will have the privilege of watching/listening as he and his Dad strengthen the bond that has been built as our son became a man; our grandchildren excited to have their uncle back in their world; my daughter and son-in-law swapping tales with the guy who lived in their basement for more than a year; and Jasper the dog, who has firmly placed me third in his world, right behind my son, and I am more than happy with that placement!
This is love. Love and the present moment, truly that is all there is…now, go find someone you love and wrap your arms around them!