Tuesday, October 23, 2012

178 Days - The Day My Mind Arrived

Yesterday was my good friend Brian’s 39th birthday – which I forgot. The same good friend who last year sent me a Barbra Streisand CD in the mail to make up for a slight misstep on his part when my birthday rolled around, and who this year spent God-knows-how-much-on a fat, sweaty Elvis to sing Happy Birthday to me in front of colleagues at my place of work. The same friend who at the age of ten crafted a goodbye card out of orange construction paper and Philadelphia Flyers’ logos which he gave to me before my family moved, changing neighborhoods and schools. The one who confided in me when he was at one of his lowest points and who, despite being unable to drive, took public transportation across a massive city just to be on time for my daughter’s baptism. Yesterday, I forgot to tell him that he is a friend I hold very dear to me, and that I am a better person with him in my life. I forgot to remind him of how special I think he is and how much I love having him as a confidant, and I forgot to wish him a wonderful year ahead. I acted selfishly in many ways yesterday which is neither a reason to forget nor an excuse of why I did, but rather recognition of where I went wrong.

One year ago yesterday, we laid to rest my husband’s father – which I forgot. I forgot how Todd stood in front of a room of family and friends and expressed his grief in a very Todd way. How when the service had ended, our family changed into clothing appropriate for a beautiful autumn, cloudless day in the city of Orlando and walked along the edge of Lake Ivanhoe where we shared thoughts, cried tears, grasped hands and leaned on shoulders. I didn’t tell him that I was feeling pain alongside him yesterday as he smiled his way through everything that came at him because I didn’t know he was hurting, since I didn’t take the time to know, or even take the time to care. Yesterday, I was paying attention to my accounts and stressed about being with my boss and I put my focus on the debate and looking attractive and feeling confident and smashing my husband’s truck which I did in grand fashion. Yesterday, like so many days, I wasn’t thinking of the truly important things like those I love, and those who love me. I was just thinking about me, sadly, yet again.

Yesterday, Police found the body of twelve-year-old Autumn Pasquale after they along with neighbors, family, and strangers – including some friends of mine who lived in Autumn’s neighborhood in South Jersey – searched for days through woods and trailer parks, knocking on doors and handing out fliers. A community of people put aside their lives and whatever duties they had to search for a girl in the hope that a situation like this would have a positive outcome for a change. They were selfless, determined and filled with hope and they let those three things guide them through the days and nights that followed. But their search in the end only turned up the inevitable: another young child taken from her family and friends. A girl who would have one day been a woman taken from her future husband and future children way too soon. Another potential world-changer gone, but not at the hands of those determined to find her as those people understood Autumn’s potential and despite whatever was going on in their worlds, worked long and hard to try to save that potential, as well as that precious little girl.

To my friend, Brian: Happy Birthday, a day late. I love you. You are my forever friend, and I’m sorry that I didn’t *make* the time to tell you that yesterday.
To my husband, Todd:  I am with you today in spirit and I am here if you need me for anything at all. I will drive across town to bring you a muffin and my shoulder if need be, so please use me in whatever way you must. I’m sorry I didn’t remember.
To the family of Autumn Pasquale: I am so sorry that the world and I will never get to see Autumn’s full potential, but I will work hard to act as selflessly as those who searched to find your baby in my own life to honor hers that is now, sadly, over. My prayers and those of my family are with you and yours today.

A wise person once said that finding the time and making the time are two entirely different things. Go make the time today that you didn’t make yesterday.
I just did.

My pal Brian and Me

After Stan's Service

Another life gone too soon. Rest in peace, Autumn.

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