How Would I Leave You?

Updated: Apr 4

HOW WOULD I LEAVE YOU?

These past weeks have taken their toll on me, on all of us, I imagine. Seemingly overnight, our world changed. Customs ingrained for thousands of years­–a handshake, breaking bread, embracing a friend or loved one–they’re gone, possibly forever, or at least that’s what the news seems to express. Every moment of every day has become consumed by the terrifying conqueror. The invisible predator–who is hiding among friends or passersby, on surfaces and possibly your shopping cart–has altered our lives beyond comprehension. We are lonely, depressed, financially stressed and clinging to the news like a lifeline. It’s not like us, but it is our new reality.

All of this has had me thinking about those who are suffering the most–the sick and dying, who are fighting alone. There are people in hospital beds or closed off in bedrooms, struggling to breathe, many of whom are isolated in their last moments. There are noble healthcare workers, risking their lives each day to help, sacrificing themselves and even their ability to return to their families for fear of infecting them. It could happen to any of us. The statistics say one thing, but there have been many anomalies in this short explosion and not enough data to know anything for certain.

Now to turn my thoughts inward. What if I got it? What if I had to go to the hospital and what if it got the better of me? With my time running out, what would matter most to me in that moment of reckoning? How would I leave you?

If this is the last thing I say…

Dear Son,

Your arrival was the most joyous gift I’ve ever received. As I held you that first day, I couldn’t believe you were mine. From that moment, I knew I would protect you fiercely with more love than I’d ever known, a well so deep, it’s bottomless. Every move I’ve made from that day on was fueled by my adoration.

I’m sorry for the pain you experienced by some of my decisions, yet I know my missteps led to so much good–culture, religion, camping, fishing, education and a well of friendships. We grew up together and you taught me at least as much as I taught you. Every moment we shared from feeding the ducks, a thousand baseball games, meals, walks, Sunday bowling, driving, screaming, and hurting, it’s been more magnificent than I could ever have imagined.

You made me whole. This is my wish for you…May you walk through life with golden sunshine raining upon you, nourishing you with strength and kindness, but most of all the wholeness of your blessed and glorious family. Thank you for expanding my heart, and my clan, and for being mine–if only for a blink.

If I may leave you with a last piece of advice, it’s okay to be vulnerable and it’s the strongest act of all to admit your mistakes. Be open and have faith. When it fades, look into the eyes of your wife, for she made your dreams come true. When you are at the end of your rope, pull a blanket over your son and daughter, kiss their foreheads and know, they need you. Pain is temporary, love is forever. When you found Lily, my heart grew, when Malcolm and Mila arrived, it exploded. Thank you. I love you.

Malcolm and Mila,

You are the light-bringers, the glue and the sweetest part of life. May you always feel my enduring adoration. Love is too small a word to explain how much I dream for you.

Dear Mom,

You were my destiny as much as I was yours. Though we are different, and maybe because we are, I’ve learned so much from you. Your example has tempered and motivated me. Your determination, focus, and steadfastness have shaped me in ways I can’t express. I wouldn’t be the person I am without your leadership throughout my life.

I’m sorry for every time I was snotty, took you for granted, and for the times I hurt your feelings. Know I never meant to do that. You gave me so much to live up to and at times I didn’t rise to the occasion. I know that. Thank you for loving me even when I was unlovable and for helping me when I needed it most.

I’m grateful for you and my step-dad, and for all you’ve done to take care of us. Your help was so much more than advice, or a bailout, it was the assurance that I belonged and that meant so much. My heart is full thinking of you two together, sipping your Budweiser and working in the garden. I couldn’t have chosen better parents and GOD knows that.

To my father, step-mother, my brother, my niece, nephew and those beautiful great-nieces,

Your lessons–our bond–are deep within me. I pray you feel the light in your hearts and that it guides you. I carry you in my most hopeful place, always.

To my enormous Italian family (all of you),

Brandy said it best, we had the most unbelievable grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins imaginable. No one had a childhood as we did. Those holidays when we were all together–eating, messing up the house, and generally pissing grandma off–were the best. For this, I must thank my grandparents. They gave us the family of dreams and it couldn’t have been easy. Had they not sacrificed, we wouldn’t have those warm memories of white Christmas trees, Sunday meat sauce, and the Trixie’s. I hope one day we have another loud, sloppy and blessed meal together. There may be clouds or flames, but the surroundings won’t matter if we are all there.

To the Vain Girls (and some great guys I met on the journey),

Those spirited and sizzling unique females (insert pronoun here) who shared my path, thank you for your sisterhood, listening ear, those long night’s we can’t clearly remember, the walks at the shore, the gossip, advice, the adventure and all the photos along the way. You were the cherry on top! I love you.

And to the people who hurt me,

I am not your judge but not all cruelty can be forgiven by a mere mortal.

Finally (leaving the best for last)…

Dear GOD,

You scared me as often as you wowed me. The gift of life that you lavished upon us is impossible to comprehend. That moment on grandpa’s knee, the day Dustin was born, one afternoon riding bikes, meeting the woman who would take over for me, holding my grandchildren for the first time, the bees–you give such miracles. I’m sorry for every day I didn’t notice, for every glance I ignored and for the times I took your name in vain. You’ve bestowed love on every grain of sand and flowering bush, just so I could exist. I shall never be worthy and I am deeply humbled.

If this is how I leave you, how I leave all of you, I’ll try to be succinct and boil it down to one word…LOVE.

Go with love and know I had the time of my life.


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