I am devastated to hear about the loss of a friend today. This person touched many lives with comments of hope and love. This post is to let her know that she was loved–her soul is now loved–along with her daughter and family.
In blogging, many of us write as catharsis–we celebrate joys, hold hands through sorrows and laugh in between. We form connections–at best, we make friendships and, at the least, try to bare honest souls on computer screens. We try to communicate that, while despair sometimes flirts, there is always hope . . . .
Then there are these unexplained tragedies we can’t wrap our heads around and leave large holes in their wake. These tragedies make us look at our own lives, our relationships, our selves. We hope that, despite misunderstandings, the people we hold within our hearts know how much we love them. That way, if the unforseeable happens, our loved ones who remain have our love to hold onto.
Sancheeta, you are missed. I hope this post honors a fraction of what you meant to those of us blessed to know you. Safe, peaceful travels.
For those of you who need to hear this, don’t ever g i v e up.
Image from Lenika Scott
A friend of mine asked me something today in the midst of conversation.
How are you? I continued on with small talk not fully answering the question.
How are you? A second time. More small talk.
How are you? Yes, a third time and quite the persistent friend.
I had to respond. Honestly. Without a smile to hide behind or chattering about my children or exchanging information about the weather. With three words asked three times, this person intuitively reached through space and forced me to turn the flashlight on
myself My Self. Yes, the misspelling was intentional (I know there’s grammar police watching). There’s something about shoving together my and self that can, at times, lead to overlooking our cores, our inner beings, ourselves Our Selves. When my and self are married, the word can be said too quickly. It can slip too easily off the tongue. When I dissected it and separated the word, I had to stop and think. How was My Self? My response necessitated an I. I was forced to define myself as I was. Not as how my hair was fixed or what color shirt I was wearing or if I had make-up on. I had to glance inwardly, look through my lens of awareness, and speak the truth.
How are you? Yes, it’s great that you are happily married or contentedly single or that you just got a new puppy or that your boss acknowledged your hard work with a raise.
How are you? Aside from having to shuffle your children to basketball or throw together a meal in thirty minutes or grade a stack of papers.
How are you? Really?
crucifix gleamed round your
neck spoke without words of
pain wounds that couldn’t be
you knew what it felt like to be
lanced cut hurt you smiled and
suffered that couldn’t be
stitched together you were an
exploding fast ball let loose to
test life’s velocity until you were
crucifix gleams round my
neck speaks without words of
pain memories that can’t be
Pamela A. Rossow
Mr. E.F. Duncan, Owner Duncan’s Toy Chest: Well, two Turtle Doves. I’ll tell you what you do: you keep one, and you give the other one to a very special person. You see, Turtle Doves are a symbol of friendship and love. And as long as each of you has your Turtle Dove, you’ll be friends forever.
Kevin McCallister: Wow. I never knew that. I thought they were just part of a song.
Mr. E.F. Duncan, Owner Duncan’s Toy Chest: They are. And for that very special reason.
(Quote from Home Alone 2)
It is with great sadness that I write this afternoon. A special man and friend of my dad, Dave Rossow, was tragically killed today. His name was John Wilson. He was a wonderful man, father, husband, firefighter, chef, and friend. The entire Boca Raton Fire Department family grieves and we extend our condolences to John’s wife and sons. Readers, please be reminded when hearing about such sad news, to appreciate who is in your life at this moment. We never know when an ordinary day can turn extra-ordinary for all of the wrong reasons. Our time on this planet is finite. When we have people, like “John Wilsons” in our lives, we need to appreciate them and let them know how much we love them. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. If we are cognizant of this reality, although some people might find it morbid, it may help us to live with love and forgiveness. RIP John. You were and are loved. God bless you.
This picture was taken at my dad, Dave Rossow’s, retirement party.
I’m supposed to be resting. Of course, being on a computer isn’t really resting. And writing isn’t resting. I never said I was a compliant patient. However, I am in bed (that must count for something). With my laptop. Writing. “Stunada” as my Nonnie would have said. Not in the “out there” sense but in the stubborn, sorta stupid sense (sorry Nonnie). I was recently talking to a good friend late one night. We’ve both been on this crazy rollercoaster called “Life.” We’ve had similar experiences, felt the same at times, and, at other moments, diverged. Our relationship, though, no matter what we are thinking, feeling, or hoping, remains granite solid. I mentioned a song (by The Fray) on my daughter’s iPod (yes, I borrowed it for a few minutes while outside getting a little vitamin D). This song asks a lot of questions (yeah, yeah, I know, I can relate), is kinda dark, and, although I’ve heard it at least thirty times, it was the first time I really listened to the words. I asked my friend if she heard it before (nearly everyone has) and if she knew what the lyrics meant. I couldn’t identify exactly what touched me about it but I felt it draw me in, put a warm blanket around my shoulders, and nestle a steaming cup of tea in my hands. I didn’t feel alone. I felt . . . comforted. Music, as an art form, has that capability (one of the reasons I appreciate it so much). My friend sent me an email with a link to the lyrics as explained by the lead singer and pianist. I didn’t care that the song was so popular it made it onto various countries’ billboard charts or what TV show used clips of it (even though it’s all true). It spoke to me where I was (where I am). In a place I’ve never been before. Where, depending on the day, I question God’s existence. Many before me have been here, many are here now, and many more will visit in the future. I’m not sure of what my future holds. It’s okay. Even in this space, I’m banking that He hasn’t abandoned me. That He still loves me perfectly (like no other can). That His silence is because, when He does speak again, I will not question that it’s Him. I will be certain.
This blog post is dedicated to my buddy Peter Ajello (formerly a.k.a. Fat Pete or The Funny Fat Guy now known as The Weight Loss King of South Florida). There’s many things I could say about him but, since this is a shorter post, I’ll keep the list to a minimum (okay, I’ll try). Not only have I known him since Pope John Paul II High School (where he was one of two freshmen to make the varsity football team), after we reconnected on facebook nearly 19 years later, he has become a great friend. Pete’s life from around age 13 to now is one hell of an amazing story. So amazing that Pete and I are co-authoring a book entitled Mind Over Body that details his incredible (and sometimes shocking) life encounters with food, drugs, and much more. Pete is a guy who, against all odds and with the help of family and friends, survived a diabetic stroke, got clean, ended up on The Doctors Show on CBS, trains with Kari Williams (a dedicated trainer with a no nonsense approach), receives nutritional advice from Pascal Durand (yep, former Mr. Paris in body building 1991), has been mentored by Peter Tunney (a famous artist and one of Pete’s best friends), met President Obama, had a skin removal surgery donated by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner (of Boca Raton, Fl), and has been written about in over 3,000 newspaper and magazine articles worldwide (take your pick). Most importantly, Pete inspires others to live healthy lives by eating well and exercising. Yeah, you think that’s something? Pete, at his heaviest, weighed nearly 425 lbs. and was determined to shed the excess fat (not through gastric bypass surgery or stomach staples) but by putting his mind over his body. Literally. Basically, stepping it up, taking his life back, and kicking some metabolic ass in the process. The fact that a $17,000 bet from his best friends helped to jump start the weight loss was incredible as well (and the reality that Pete bet on himself and WON is freaking awesome). Pete ended up shedding 200 lbs. in 16 months! He wants everyone out there who’s struggling to lose weight to just do it! Pete wants you to know that you can reverse diabetes (like he did), you can restore your self-esteem, get healthy, and live the life you deserve to live! In the upcoming months, check bookshelves for Mind Over Body and, in the meantime, take a look at his website http://www.peterajello.com/. Pete, here’s to you! Mind Over Body, baby!