June 23rd marked the second anniversary of my mothers passing this year. On that morning I woke up just like I do everyday, ready to start my daily rituals and then set off to work.
I had my breakfast, the most important part of my day, went to the gym (the dreaded but second most important part) and came home to shower.
As I was ironing my uniform I stood for a moment at the board and thought about my mother. I thought about how many times I didn’t answer her calls because I was just too “busy”, or how sometimes I didn’t return them when she would leave me a message that ran right through to the allotted time you have on a voicemail (she was famous for telling me every single thing she was going to talk to me about when I called her back, so much so that I didn’t even need to call her because I knew what she was going to say!)
I thought about the loneliness she must have felt and the possible disregard by her loved ones (she lived alone and loved to talk on the phone with everyone in the family). Yet we were all so “busy” and we just didn’t have the time. I wondered if she felt unloved, hurt and unappreciated everytime she heard the automated voice tell her to “please leave a message”. Then I started to cry.
I realized that I didn’t want to go to work that day. I just wanted to be around the ones I loved, and if I couldn’t be with them then I at least wanted them to know that I cared about them and was grateful for their presence in my life.
I decided right then and there that from now on, in the memory of my mother, I would treat this day as my own personal Memorial Day and remember her, while also showing great regard to those that were still apart of me.
So I called out of work, set up camp on my back porch and proceeded to make phone calls, send text messages and emails to all of the important people in my life. Each message was personalized depending on what place that person held in my heart and mind. Not everyone was an everyday fixture, some were just people that were there for me through my divorce, others life long friends, some new friends that have shown me so much and also there was family. Family in the sense of those that were closest to me in my heart, not necessarily blood relatives (though they were in there too).
The responses to my messages started to come in through the day and were all so amazing. I felt so happy. I then decided, after reaching out to everyone, to spend the rest of my day with my #1 love….my daughter. We went about the day doing things we like to do, all the while I was still receiving wonderful replies to my outreaches.
I felt good and whole and then I felt completely saddened by the response from the cell phone of my old landlord who played a pretty significant role in a very trying time in my life. His grandson Timmy replied explaining that Bob was in the hospital and they had set up hospice to come in a few days.
I had just spoken with Bob maybe 2-3 weeks prior just to say “hi” and check in with him. I remember that day that I called him I was feeling particularly frantic, a bit down and just overall overwhelmed by life in general. I knew that calling him would slow down the pace for me a bit. (If you’ve ever had an older friend or family member, say in or around their 80’s, you know that they have a certain pace and sense of peace about them) I needed that at that moment. So I called and we talked about nothing of great urgency, and that was wonderful. We talked about his great grandchildren, and that was joyous. We talked about his life living in the Midwest, how different it was from the city he was living in when he rented me my apartment many years ago, and that brought me peace. We just talked slowly and methodically about everything not related to the busy and crazy lifestyle I live, and that was calming. It was just what I needed.
So to hear his grandson tell me that he was in this position was very upsetting to me. Bob always represented, since I met him, a sort of grandfather figure to me. I never really had one since both of mine passed away when I was very young and he was just an extremely caring individual that treated me just like family, leaving his front door open of the triple decker that we lived in always letting me know that no matter what I needed he was there.
Timmy told me that he would read my text message to Bob that night when he went to visit him and that made me feel good that he would be able to hear that.
I kept in contact with Timmy for the next few days and he told me that Bob smiled when he heard my message. He told me that Bob said that he loved me and that made me feel so sad and happy at the same exact time. Timmy was wonderful at keeping me up-to-date but just a few days later Bob had passed.
I was in tears knowing that my oldest friend, the friend who I didn’t talk to often, but always tried to keep in touch with even when he moved halfway across the country, was now no longer on this earth. I was sad knowing that when I needed that calming conversation about nothing at all I wouldn’t have him to call anymore. I would no longer be receiving beautiful on time birthday cards through the email with singing animals and dancing fairies. I would not be downloading pictures of his great-grandchildren in their cutest of moments, nor would I be laughing at the jokes he would find and shoot off to me.
However, I was was oddly happy that just before he passed he knew that I was thinking about him. He knew that I was grateful that he was in my life for the period of time that he was. He knew I appreciated him and that he was someone special to me.
If I had any doubt about making this particular day a tradition of reminding those that I love that they are in my heart, this solidified that it was the best decision I could have made.
Moral of the story folks, don’t wait to appreciate. You just can’t be sure you will have the opportunity to let that person know how much they mean to you. I didnt wait and for that I am thankful.
Rest In Peace Bob. You imprinted on my life in a very positive way. You started off as a kind faced stranger, who turned into a landlord that trusted in a single young mother working as a waitress. You gave me an opportunity to prove to you that I would be a good tenant, and then you turned out to be a piece of my heart forever.