Happy Birthday In Heaven, Grandma!

    Today is my Grandmother's birthday and I can't help feeling sad that she is not here with us on this day every year.  I think perhaps writing about her and what she meant to me will help me to feel a little bit better.  Also, by talking about her here, I keep her memory alive forever even after I'm gone.  That is the beautiful thing about the written word, it lasts for all eternity.     Sarah Marie Walker was my maternal Grandmother.  She was nicknamed Sally by her father and the name stuck through to adulthood.  Her parents, Francis and Elizabeth already had a son named James when she was born and had another son, Edward, years later which made her their only daughter.     Sally was raised in a devout Catholic household by her Irish mother and English father who had been forced to convert from being Protestant when he married Elizabeth.  Her father was a Merchant Marine so he was away most of the time and she helped her mother with her younger brother since she was much older … [Read more...]

The Loss Of A Great Grandparent

    This past week, we received word that my Great-Grandmother passed away in Spain.  She was well into her nineties and had been bed-ridden for the past few years due to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alzheimer's.  In the wake of her death I find myself reflecting on her life and thinking about the legacy of the family that she left behind.     We called her "Madrina" which means "godmother" in Spanish.  The reason for this is that she baptized my father and was actually his godmother so, since he always called her that, the name stuck.  She came from a time when women worked in the fields alongside their husbands and never complained about anything.  I remember her telling me the story of how she gave birth in the old house, upstairs from where they kept the cows.     Back when I was a kid, I remember feeling like she was really old fashioned and like I couldn't relate to her.  She dressed in black as was customary for widows back in the day in Spain and always wore a kerchief … [Read more...]

Gone too soon…

           Jarrett and my oldest son at one of our many family gatherings.     I'm sure many of you have noticed that I have not posted much this week and that I really haven't been around on any social networking sites. Unfortunately, my family suffered a devastating loss last weekend when a young man who was near and dear to us was brutally taken from us through a senseless act of violence. It is really hard to wrap your head around something like this or to accept that the life of such a promising young man could be just cut short in its prime. I could not even bring myself to put it into words because that somehow made it more real and, as a result, I deliberately stayed as far away from my blog as possible this whole week.     Jarrett was just loved by everyone who knew him.  He was always willing to help anyone in any situation and he was so caring and respectful of others.  It has always been wonderful to see these qualities in him when so many young people these days are … [Read more...]