Life

Losing and Gaining: Never Easy

Nope – this isn’t a post about a woman’s constant struggle with weight gain….it’s quick  and not too “emo” so,  sit for a minute.

Yair

Yair Shapiro, zt”l

2 weeks ago, our cousin was on a day trip, hiking in the desert, when he fell from a 50 meter cliff to his tragic death. This was not some remote cousin who popped up once a year for a family get-together, this cousin called 3-4 times a week sometimes 3-4 times a day and stayed with us for holidays and weekends. This cousin was well-recognized around the neighborhood and everyone who met him from what I’ve heard only had the nicest, even if most-generic, comments about how pleasant he was.

He was single, though he tried throughout the years to pinpoint the kind of women he was looking for to make a lasting relationship and family with yet he was unsuccessful. He got lonely and depressed like most of us did, watching others move on with their lives and loved ones while we were single and in search of…Mr. or Miss Right. We encouraged and suggested new activities that might help him meet different women, we listened and understood the frustrations that come along with not knowing the future, and we set him up with good women from good families and he mostly had good experiences, just never seemed to click with anyone specific for a long-term relationship to blossom.

He was bright and knowledgeable with an outstanding memory of all things in history but struggled with learning disabilities though it never seemed to slow or deter him from his academic goals. Reaching for higher degrees and publishing an article in his field were no small feat but he was dedicated to his research even though he understood that meant he would need to find a partner who could appreciate his was a labor of love, not one that would bring great financial reward. He was not in it for the fame and fortune, he was proud of his accomplishments and yearned to be respected for his work and nothing more.

He was a grateful cousin, always thanking me for hosting him for the holidays, weekends, meals, and conversations. He brought gifts that were thoughtful and useful and always tried to bring something he knew that would put a smile on my face. He challenged my husband when discussing religion or politics and laughed with my children about sports, t.v. shows and movies. In every conversation he would inquire about the health of my parents and my in-laws, how the children were doing in school and if I had had a hard day.

The hardest thing to overcome was the finality. Not having one last opportunity to say what was truly in our hearts to one another. Sure, every conversation was honest and he knew how I felt about him because I would tell him just as often as he would tell me. However one never knows what they would say if they knew they had only one last time to say anything, until after, and then it’s too late.

2 weeks ago, we lost a cousin but gained perspective. To lose something so dear in such a shocking way?  We may never recover. Time will heal the pain and with every new, “life without Yair” moment we will look back and smile because he was so good to us. The biggest lesson I learned, even though I knew it all along, was to act like each day may be my last. Not in a morbid way, rather,  that each action towards others is something to be taken seriously. Be the very best version of yourself all the time so that when you leave this world, others will only have kind words to say and not feel regret or anger. Smile even when you feel sad. Put someone else’s needs before your own. Surround yourself with positive energy.  Measure your words. Think before you speak. Apologize when you are wrong. Hug with intensity. Love with a full heart.

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A This Is Your Life Moment

Well, I’ll be…

To quote the group  Men At Work: “Last night I had the strangest dream” – only it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. As a guest at a wedding, I was overwhelmed by the sense that it was the makeup for the perfect prank and I was getting Punk’d. But the wedding was as real as the unique guest list that had people from my past and present converging all at the same place at the same time.

How often is it that in the same social environment you’ll have your:

Appliance Guy

Architect who designed your home

Children’s teachers

Co-workers

Student Adviser from the year abroad post-high school program

High school crush

Neighbors

Colleagues

Computer tech guy

2 bosses

ex-boss turned friend

lady that you were GOING to buy your wig from but didn’t in the end who the last time you saw was not married and watching our kids play on the same softball team together NOW married. – that one made me happy 🙂

It was really weird for me.  But weddings are great like that, I guess.

But more than it being like an episode of the TV show, This Is Your Life, it was a— this is your ‘life moment’.  To me there are a few ‘life moments’ that really get me all worked up, and while I was proud of myself for not crying, my chest swelled with emotion as I watched the bride and groom smiling at each other under the stars, then looking out to the sea of people invited to wish them well with the sun setting behind them. Watching the father of the bride glow with pride *and maybe trying to capture his own life moment* smiling from ear to ear, getting the crowd to clap along when the music got festive, and encouraging all those around him to dance. He even did cartwheels!

These are the things we forget when we go about our day-to-day lives. That glowing charge of lovey-dovey-ness because the kids got sick or we missed the bus, kind of gets lost until someone’s birthday or anniversary arises as a reminder – hey buddy – it’s time to buy roses and chocolates…or diamond bracelets or a fancy island weekend getaway. (I dream big). All I really wanted this year was a light that stayed on for the duration of the Sabbath that  I could cover without causing a fire – and I got it, though there is nothing really romantic or lovey-dovey about it. Perhaps next year I’ll ask for that weekend getaway ;).

So, while I continue working days until 5PM, making dinners and bathing kids, switching loads of laundry, ignoring the sink of dirty dishes, helping kids with their homework and making doctor appointments, I realize that these labors of love are my life moments. Sure, they’re not all glamorama, but they are mine. Watching my kindergarten cutie on his third day of school made my chest swell with pride as he skipped up the ramp and waved goodbye. Watching him sleep, as I did with all my babies, gives me those goosebumps and kissing their warm necks as I wake them from slumber gives me that same gushy feeling. I just need to remember these moments when I see the wrinkles form around my eyes and the grey creep out at my temples for before I know it, there will be my own child-bride that I watch move to the next stage of her life.

I just spent the last hour cuddling with, kissing and hugging my children before bedtime. Now go and do the same. Make a mental note to create a life moment for yourself and a warm and fuzzy memory for them.

Gorilla Poop, Jimmy Fallon And Life…

…and more random thoughts by CheriBLevy.

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lorp9aOa8W1qihh0eo1_400.jpg

This, in the baking community, is called Gorilla Poop (cookies) or…No Bake Cookies. I am in a weird mood and even though it’s not Wednesday, I have to post about weird stuff today, which basically means, random train of thought blubbering. Enjoy!

In my reader today there was a post from my “friend”, a blogger at Inspire & Indulge, and her title made me giggle, I am still even chuckling to myself…because THIS is what she posted. While I think the name is funny and a bit gross, I am DEFINITELY going to make these probably in the next 24 hours for a few reasons.

  1. Because I want to shock my kids when I say the word ‘poop’
  2. Because there is no baking involved
  3. Because I want to shock my kids when I say the word ‘poop’
  4. Because they make it look so easy
  5. Because I want to shock my kids when I say the word ‘poop’

You get it. I have mentioned before in previous posts about how I like to prank others. Nothing too dramatic, I am not super creative, just a bit so that I can get a good laugh. I feel a hidden camera or interview type style might be necessary to pull it off and be able to film their reactions.

On other random news in my life. I watched this clip of Jimmy Fallon & Rashida Jones and I can’t stop smiling.

 

They look like they are having so much fun. I love her in Parks & Rec and loved her in The Office, and okay – basically anything so it was a win win for me. In all due fairness, I equally love Jimmy Fallon. He makes me smile and laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE ANYTHING HE DOES! I know that’s the point and I can join probably the other millions of people in the world that feel the same way I do.

I am feeling inspired and really want to sing and make a video with my kids to honor these 2. I probably won’t so, you’re welcome in advance, but I just might one day. (yeah yeah, just like I might also hire a cleaning woman to sort my lack of domesticity one of these days too!)

The last thing on my mind today is more serious. So sorry to turn the notch down on the funny, like I said complete random thoughts here, but it’s been on my mind all day, and there is a message to be learned. Driving to work today I witnessed the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. It was reported on the news with no other information than that which I had seen. 2 or 3 ambulances (one being ZAKA, so we knew it was bad), a motorcycle thrown on its side by the curb, and lots of yellow tape, but as we passed I noticed there was a body on the ground, covered by a plastic tarp, meaning only one thing. My breath caught. I’ve seen it dozens of times on Law & Order and other various CSI-like shows, but never in my real life have I seen a body that just lost its life. I saw his shoes. That’s what I remember. His brown shoes, that got on his bike this morning, as someone’s friend, someone’s son, perhaps someone’s father or husband or brother and thought to myself, how cruel that I know before them. It is this message that I walk away with today and I hope you do as well:

Make time to laugh. Cause others to smile. Remember to share your feelings with those you love.

So with that I thought to share some of the things that made me smile today even though they were unconnected and even a bit off-color. Perhaps they’ll make you smile as well. Wishing everyone a blessed day.