Sunday In The Park With Nazis

Life is an empty canvas, and your soul is an artist’s tool.

I just got back from a short vacation with my husband and two kids. I was excited to go spend some time away from home with my loving family, but had an ache in my heart the whole time. An ache for the babies and children who were forcefully taken from their mother’s arms at the border of my beloved country. My country that used to accept the tired, poor and huddled masses who longed for a better life.

My paternal great grandmother came over from Poland, my maternal great grandmother came from Germany. My husband’s roots stem from Scotland and Italy. We are all children of immigrants and/or slaves. We are all the descendants of those searching for a better life for their children. Our ancestors fought hard, worked hard and never gave up trying to provide for their families.

Some had to walk a much harder road through slavery, famine, prejudice and civil rights struggles. But all of them deserved to be treated equally. I had hoped that after the Obama Presidency, in the year 2018 that all people would be.

But I was wrong.

While I was lounging out in the water park, I spotted a man with lots of tattoos. I didn’t think much of it because I think tattoos are cool, but then my husband told me what the tattoos said. The man had a Nazi cross, and the words Nazi and White Power on his back and upper arms.

I was shocked when he told me because of the family setting we were in. I was also shocked because his wife also had a Nazi cross tattoo which poked out of her bathing suit upon which her cute baby lay. They had two other beautiful blond haired, blue eyed children who were running around in the sprinklers having a blast.

Two blond, blue eyed children just like mine, except for the being raised by Nazis part. If they were wearing shirts I would have never known they were White Nationalists. It sickened and saddened me that they were there so close to us, and that they would probably raise their adorable children to despise people who do not look like them. For no particular reason as Forrest Gump says.

I could not move my chair because it was the only one I could find on the crowded, hot day and I felt like I was going to pass out. So I sat there watching my kids run through the sprinklers, trying to get the media images of the Holocaust and Charlottesville out of my head. I was also thinking of the Nazi symbols vandals sprayed in my town last year, and of the Nazi flyers that had been passed out in a neighboring town recently. I thought how appalling it was that so many repugnant symbols were appearing lately, and that such groups were coming out of the shadows more now- emboldened by the Trump Presidency.

I closed my eyes for a moment and the quiet was interrupted by a young African American couple with two pretty young girls. I held my breath as they sat down right behind the white supremacists. I felt uncomfortable and worried that trouble may arise, and not the good kind that John Lewis often speaks of. I hoped and prayed that the young black couple would not see the words of hate that appeared right before them. I hoped and prayed that their innocent daughters eyes would also be spared.

I watched them get up and walk through the sprinklers, as the white supremacist muttered words under his tongue and looked at them with disgust. I wondered why he held such contempt for people he never met. I wondered what awful things may have happened to him to make him want to shut down his heart to those not like him. I thought of how unfortunate that was and how much of the world he and his family was missing.

I looked up at all of the children of many different ethnicities smiling and laughing as they cooled off under the water jets. The children that are not born hating other races/people unless they are taught to. It was a beautiful sight to see, and for a moment I forgot I was sitting among Nazis.

I held my breath once again as both couples sat down. I thought of the tiki torches in Charlottesville, and how violence often erupts around white supremacists. I was glad my children were not there at the moment. Thankfully no words were spoken, no conflict occurred.

The light of the sun was very illuminating as I watched the young African American family walk away. They have every right to enjoy a Sunday in the park without seeing racist symbols. Just as the migrant families approaching our borders have a right to seek asylum from the violence and oppression that they are running from, without being caged and called horrible names.

The United States has come a long way from its dark past. We are evolving, but still have a long way to go. If we can only come together and realize that we have much more in common then we think. We are all created equal, we need to start acting like it. We should all help each other on this difficult road, instead of making other’s lives harder. We should teach these lessons to our children. There is enough bad trouble in the world, no need to make more.

I will try my best to raise my children to be kind, compassionate, open-minded and charitable. I will hand them a blank paper or canvas, and tell them to paint something glorious.

And hopefully in the future, when they take their kids to the park on a Sunday, all of the hateful symbols and rhetoric will be washed away.

There will just be people of all sizes, shapes, and colors enjoying a post-racist America, where the possibilities are endless, and the love rises from sea to shining sea.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday In Heaven My Dear Friend

I’ve been thinking of my good friend a lot lately because her birthday is this Sunday, June 10th. I spent many birthdays with her, often at the Central Park Boathouse, one of her favorite places in New York City. We’d meet our other friends there for her birthday each year when we were younger. But this year is different. Such a meeting cannot take place ever again.

She passed away from brain cancer on October 17, 2017. She was only 48 years old.

She will not be here to blow out any candles this year. She was taken way too soon.

Taken from her young children and devoted husband. Taken from her many friends and relatives whose lives she touched beyond measure.

I had lost touch with her about 7 years ago. But I now know that she received the card and flowers I sent her before she passed. My friend read my card to her and saw it register in her mind as a tear rolled down her face. I was not able to visit her for she was only up to seeing very close family and friends.

I did not get to say goodbye in person. I did not get to kiss her precious cheek. I did not get to thank her for being one of the best friends I have ever had.

I was not able to attend her wake or funeral in New Jersey. It was the same weekend as a big party I had planned for my 7 year old son in Virginia. A party I could not cancel. A party I barely got through for it was on the same day as my good friends wake.

Since I was not able to attend her wake, it still seems unreal that my beautiful, vibrant friend is gone. It still seems possible that we could all have a big reunion in the city. It still seems possible that I can give her a big hug for the first time in 7 years.

But that is all a dream that will not happen. That can not happen. Until we meet again someday.

Cherish your good friends while they are still here. We never know what tomorrow will bring. A tumor, a car crash, a violent act, a suicide, a debilitating condition. Anything is possible, and as time quickly passes by I understand this now. The deep pain in my heart will never let me forget it.

I keep thinking of a fun night we had at The Hayden Planetarium. We went to a laser light Pink Floyd show. It was amazing to hear the incredible music as the laser lights filled the venue. I briefly looked at her face in the darkened room. It was filled with color, it was filled with joy. The lyrics from “Time” keep running through my head now- ‘The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death.’ Back then death was so far away. We never thought about it or talked about it. We were so young, our whole lives were ahead of us. I didn’t find the time, my plans to get together with her never came to fruition. I lost my chance because death came for her before the song was over.

I would give anything to ease the anguish her family feels. I would give anything to have her back. To order a round of Stella Artois beers and watch the sun set over Central Park, as laughter fills the air once again. The laughter that started when I first met her at 17. The laughter that never seemed to end when she was around.

I will never forget her laugh. I will never forget all she has done for me in my life. She helped me walk a better path. A path that has led to a happier life with a loving husband and two children. A path that would not have been the same without her. Our paths were meant to cross. I thank God that they did.

Take the time today to call, email or text your friends. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, the time is now to schedule that reunion.

We only walk this Earth once, make your time count. Let your friends know what they mean to you before it is too late.

I now walk this Earth with much regret. I will try hard to turn that regret into action in her honor. Action that my kind friend would approve of. Action that will help enrich the lives of others and bring a smile to their faces.

Just like she always did.

This Sunday I will light a memorial candle at the local church. I will say a prayer for my dear friend and her family. I will tell Alexa to play some Pink Floyd, raise a glass of Stella to the sky and smile.

Because I was lucky enough to know her. Because I still love her and always will.

And now I have nothing more to say.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

My Seven Year Old’s Response To Trump’s Shithole Comments On The Eve Of MLK Jr. Day

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.

I was running late this morning  and trying to get the kids to school on time. I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC most mornings, but turn on The Disney Channel once my children wake up. The news is too hard to bear lately, and certainly too scary to for my kids to handle.

I forgot to turn the channel and heard the words “shithole.” I went into the living room and saw both my children looking at the TV with a weird look on their faces. They heard the story about the racist comments Trump uttered in the DACA meeting.

At first I didn’t know what to say and regretted not changing the channel, but after speaking to them, I was glad they watched the news story of the remarks heard round the world.

My daughter is 12 now and hears about news stories at school, and from me sometimes, so I thought she would be able to grasp and handle the situation. My son is 7 years old, and though he gets the picture on his own that Trump is not a very nice person/President, I think he was shocked to hear what he said.

My daughter said to him, “Trump just said those bad things about people in other countries, many of them have brown skin and have suffered a lot.”

My 7 year old son responded “I learned about Martin Luther King at school, and he and others were treated bad because of the color of their skin. That was not nice, and it is not okay what he (Trump) just said.”

I was never so proud of my kids. They both had looks of disgust on their sweet little faces. They both got it.

I frequently feel like I’m a failure as a mom because I am chronically ill and unable to participate in many things. I have to lie down a lot and am in pain most days. I am grumpier and not as much fun as I used to be. But, I try very hard to instill a sense of what is right and wrong on a daily basis. I consistently speak of how important it is to help others as often as we can.

I tell them how we are all equal, and should be treated that way. No one is better than anyone else, and if they ever see someone being mistreated for who they are or what they look like, that they should speak up or tell a teacher or adult what has occurred.

I tell them that they can not truly understand what it is like to walk in a person of color’s shoes, but that they should listen, show compassion, and walk forever beside them.

They should never use their shoes to trample upon others, and if they have extra pairs they should donate them to someone in need.

I struggle like most moms to get my kids to listen to me, and for them to get ready properly and on time. I worry that they won’t remember the safety rules and little bits of wisdom I try to tell them.

Then sometimes mornings like this occur and I am overcome with emotion and pride.

We cannot sit back and say nothing. We have to use our collective voices to speak up and help those who experience injustice.

I will include my children in current events more often now. I have learned an important lesson this morning.

I cannot shield them from the terrible acts of a President who is spiraling out of control and espousing racist remarks. I cannot shield them from a world full of injustice and remain silent any longer.

I can help them to become good little citizens who on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day may just help bend “the arc of the moral universe” a little more toward justice.

As a mom, I pray every day for a better world for them. A world where “unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” A world where all of Dr. King’s words still resonate and point us in the right direction.

Let’s try our best to raise good children and walk this path together.

 

 

 

 

When We Are Dying We Will Embrace The Love Of Those Around Us

It’s a brisk September morning. The chill in the air is minimal, but after a 90 degree day it feels freezing. A few yellow leaves drop to the ground as I walk with my daughter. The kids are back in school so there is much activity. Many dogs accompany their families on the walk, and we see many bike riders pass on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail outside of DC.

It’s mornings like these that I treasure. Walking my children to school, talking and laughing along the way, saying hello to passing friends and neighbors. Life is fleeting, my children are growing so fast, time is so precious.

I come home to a quiet house, the silence is both welcoming and unsettling. I pet our bunny Peanut and hamster Zaychu to remind myself that I am not all alone.

I think for a few moments about death because September 25th will be the one year anniversary of the day I almost died from multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. I am so grateful to be alive, but am still haunted by that day. I am still trying to recover both physically and mentally.

I look at the devastation that is going on in Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and once again I am reminded of my blessings. I sip my chamomile tea as thousands of people are struggling to find drink, food, shelter and clothing.

We never know when tragedy will strike. We never know when we will require assistance. We never know when our last day will come.

That is something that we all have in common. That is what makes us human.

I remember the tough year I just had, and see the tough times many people in the world are facing, and I feel saddened.

Then I look up from my keyboard and witness the humanity, courage and love that always follow each and every tragedy. Each and every personal loss.

It is like a tide that ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re up. Sometimes we’re down. But, hopefully we will have loving friends, family and community members around us as we tread carefully through this life.

There are constant reminders of the fragility of life. There are constant reminders of the heroes and helpers who help us pick up the pieces.

They are there without a moment’s notice. They are not there to seek accolades. They are just there to help.

If we all try to be like them, then our world will be a much better place.

When we are dying we will embrace the love of those around us. When we are dying we will think about whether or not we made a difference in other people’s lives. When we are dying we will think could we have done more? Could we have loved more?

The answer is always yes.

We can always do more to make ourselves and others happy. We can always do more to make others smile. We can always do more to help our neighbors who are without food, shelter or healthcare. We can always do more by standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

One year ago I almost died.

This anniversary means so much to me. I will raise a glass to old friends and new. I will hug my family and celebrate that I’m still here. I will try my best to appreciate each new day that I’m given. I will try my best to help others however and whenever I can.

I will think about what will happen when I die a little more often now after surviving my blood clots.

When I die, I know it will be with a clear conscience and a full heart. But that time is not now.

Now, it’s time to live.

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain

Senator McCain,

You are an American hero. You have dedicated your life to serving our great country and I thank you. You have gone through things many of us could never imagine, and have prevailed. You are going through a health crisis right now which I hope and pray you will fully recover from.

So I know you understand what it means to be sick, to suffer and to fight back. Just like millions of Americans are doing right at this moment. I know you understand what it means to pray for your children when they are ill, and to look into their eyes and tell them that they will get better, because they know you will do everything possible to make sure that they will.

A parent loves their children more than they love themselves. From the moment we first look into their eyes, they are forever a part of us. They are forever a part of our hearts.

So it is no surprise that every time they get a cut or scrape we are there to bandage them up. When they have a mystery illness, we take them to as many doctors as we can, until a treatment is found.

When they fall, we help to pick them up off the ground. That’s what good parents do.

I am writing to you as a parent, as a chronically ill person, and as an American. I am writing to you to ask you to please show the courage and maverick spirit you are known for and vote no to the Graham-Cassidy bill or any version of Trumpcare. Please work together with other Senators to improve The Affordable Care Act which is helping millions of people and families like mine get the treatment they need, without going bankrupt, or being dropped from coverage because of our many preexisting conditions. Most Americans want this to happen. Please help lead the way.

We never know what tomorrow will bring. We hope for good health and happiness, but face many bumps on the road. A year ago, almost to the day, I almost died. It was shocking, unexpected, traumatic and life-changing. I was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Because of our health insurance, I was able to go to the ER where they found my blood clots. I received excellent care as I was in the hospital for 3 days. They saved my life. My children still have a mom because of them, and because of protections of The Affordable Health Care Act. I was able to continue my care with a board certified hematologist who took good care of me,  and gave me blood-thinners and blood tests which helped to heal me. My recovery took a long time but now I am able to walk my kids to school, and watch them grow into loving, caring people thanks to Senators like you, Murkowsi, Collins and the Democrats who said no to Trumpcare.

My son suffers from life-threatening food allergies, asthma and recurrent croup. He frequently goes to doctors and specialists who help to keep him healthy and alive. He has been to the ER many times. He is still here thanks to his healthcare, his doctors and Senators like you who did not let him down. When you look at your 4 year old son who is turning blue and struggling to breathe a few times you change. You become frightened, you educate yourself, and you become his advocate. You fight to make sure that your families’ healthcare is not taken away due to many preexisting conditions or other issues. You do not want to become bankrupt just to keep your family alive. You shouldn’t have to.

I’m advocating for him, my whole family and many Americans right now who desperately need you to do the right thing once again. Please hear the millions of voices calling out to you.

I will never forget the sight of you giving a thumbs down to Trumpcare on July 28, 2017. It was a spectacular sight. I was so proud of you at that moment. You didn’t let us down. Millions of us were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. I will tell my children about you and what you did that night. I will show them the clips and news stories, and how you and your colleagues saved our family and many others.

When a nation falls, we help to pick people up from the ground. That’s what good Senators do.

Thank you for being one of them. Please help us once again to maintain our dignity as we fight to heal ourselves and our children. Please vote no to the Graham-Cassidy bill or any other versions of it.

Sickness, disabilities and getting good healthcare are like a personal battlefield. Please show us your courage once more. Please lead the fight and help us all prevail. Our future is literally in your hopefully thumbs down hands.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Kathy Soppet

 

 

 

 

My Game of Thrones Playlist to Get Me Through the Tough Days

I have just been through a year that had me shouting “seven hells” many times. My seven hells this year were PMDD, multiple pulmonary embolisms, anxiety, panic attacks, menopause, lyme disease and interstitial cystitis.

Game of Thrones, and other shows like it have helped keep me occupied and distracted through the pain and heartache that often accompanies chronic illness. I wrote an article about it last year. 

I am incredibly grateful to have made it through this year. I am still struggling and fighting, but am much better than last year. Tonight is the premiere of Game of Thrones and I can’t wait to watch it. Partly because I have been waiting a year and a half for the new season, and partly because it is a reminder that I made it through, I survived.

This morning while making pancakes for my family, it seemed like every song was reminding me of Game of Thrones. Some songs made me laugh, some made me think of certain GOT characters, and others made me feel excited and happy. So happy that I danced in my kitchen for the first time in over a year. I hope you enjoy my playlist, and I hope you dance too.

Here is my Game of Thrones playlist:

1. Another One Bites the Dust by Queen – who will bite the dust this season?
2. Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison – last season Margaery and Loris Tyrell were killed by Cersei. I’m sure that their grandmother Olenna will be all thorns this season.
3. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf – The Wildlings are a huge part of GOT and will have a great role to play this season too as many battle will take place.
4. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse – Jon’s watch has ended and he won’t go back to black, but I’m sure the Night’s Watch will be by his side as they fight the Night King and his army of wights.
5. Pride by U2- this important song was of course written about MLK Jr., but it briefly made me think of the fictional character Ned Stark, who lived his life with honor and pride, and who many still fight for in the name of love.
6. The Rains of Castamere by The National- who could forget the Red Wedding or this amazing/haunting song. What will the Lannisters be up to this season? How many of us souls long to see/hear what they will do?
7. Burden In My Hand by Soundgarden – this song reminds me of Tyrion. He is now hand of the Queen, how will he handle this honor and burden? Will he rise to the occasion once they reach the sands of Dragonstone, or will he drown in alcohol and fall to pieces once again?
8. Dire Wolf by The Grateful Dead – Will Ghost return? Will Arya be reunited with Nymeria? Which sinners and bad guys will the Stark wolves attack? Many have it coming to them.
9. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley – He isn’t high class, but I’m so glad the Hound is back! He prefers chicken to rabbits and has been a secret friend of the Starks. F*ck the king, let’s see what he does this season!
10. Witchy Woman by The Eagles – Cersei was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and now she has suffered the witches prophecy. Gold are now her children’s shrouds, will her little brother now choke her to death? We shall see.
11. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Nothing will stop The Mountain from protecting Cersei, not the Trident river or the Vale of Arryn, and nothing will stop me from watching the Cleganebowl if it happens this season!
12. Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple – this song reminds me of the Greyjoys since Pyke is always misty and smoky looking. It also reminds me of The Battle of Blackwater, and other battles to come. What will be Theon and Yara’s fate? What great battles on the sea lie ahead?
13. Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling – Dany has a big heart and has become wild and powerful, and she is being called home. While her dragons chase the sky, the lights are blinding and her quest is binding. Her maps and battle lines are drawn, will she prevail and ultimately sit on the throne?
14. Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd – I’m on Team Stark and Jon Snow is my favorite. He may be a simple man but he has learned something, and does not live for rich mans gold. He follows his heart and knows what’s in his soul. I hope it leads him to great things and happiness.

This past year I said not today to the god of death many times. I hope you say not today too, and I hope he listens.

Winter is here. Let’s all hope it’s not a long one.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Thank You to the Friends Who Met Me After Chronic Illness

To the friends who have met me after chronic illness,

You may have met me through my kids. You may have met me in the neighborhood. But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that you met me after I became chronically ill- but you still chose to become my friend.

You weren’t put off by my disheveled looks, my wrinkled clothes, my messy house, my tired eyes, my seldom seen smiles. You didn’t judge me, look at me strangely or differently, or walk away.

You gave me a chance because you are a special person. One who can see beyond appearances and chaos, and focus on what is important.

People. Helping others. Being a good person and friend.

You met me after Lyme Disease and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder took over part of my brain and made me more anxious, confused and irritable. You met me after I was recovering from surgery and going through surgical menopause. You still supported me after I learned that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms, and didn’t know whether or not I would survive. You met me when I could barely take care of my children, let alone myself.

But, you still stuck around. You still gave me a chance. You still cared no matter what.

You didn’t stop coming around when I could not even make it to the door because I was too anxious to answer it. You didn’t stop calling or texting me to see if I needed anything, even though I could never return the favor. You didn’t stop asking me to do things even though you knew that I couldn’t for quite awhile.

You helped get my young son to school each and every day so that he wouldn’t miss out on anything. You made sure he was safe and well cared for. You made sure he had fun whenever he was with you and your children. You made sure my eleven year old daughter was also okay and had what she needed to get through the many crises we faced these past 2 years.

You never complained, you were just there. Right where I needed you, right when I needed you. You never asked for anything in return.

THAT is the definition of a true friend. Helping and caring for someone and being there without any expectations or desire for a reward or returned favor. That is the definition of you.

You are selfless. You are a wonderful person. You are just what I needed, but never thought I’d find again due to my maladies.

I am very lucky that I have a great husband who helps me with everything. But it is also nice to have some good friends. Friends like you. To laugh with, to spend time with, to grow with, to become better people with.

I had almost given up hope that I would find good friends in my new home state. After my many ailments, I thought it would be impossible.

But there you were, walking slowly but surely by my side. Maybe you saw a glimmer in my eye of what I once was- active, funny and spontaneous. Maybe you got brief hints of what my personality truly is, when free from the constraints of pain and sickness.

In a world where many people are focused upon material things and influential people, you choose not to be. You can see past all of that, and get right to the heart of the matter. You were able to see what was in my heart.

I can’t begin to tell you how much you mean to me, and to my family. I can’t begin to thank you enough for how you have helped me, and for how you have accepted me and all of my limitations.

Having you around has brought some newfound joy to my life. Having you around has helped me recover. Having you around has helped me smile again.

A lot of people in their forties have to deal with at least one chronic illness. They are lucky if they have good friends around to help them adjust and get through it. But, making new friends when you have more than one debilitating condition is very difficult. It can be a very lonely time. Online support groups can be very helpful, but nothing takes the place of a nearby friend. One who is there to listen, commiserate with and to give you a hug when you need it the most.

Thank you for being my friend. I know that it can be hard sometimes because of all I am dealing with, but hopefully better health and good times are just around the corner. I look forward to sharing those times with you.

And as I struggle to fall asleep tonight, I will have a smile on my face because I know that kind people like you exist in this world.

You are just what the doctor ordered.

Poetologie ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Father is…

A father is a cushion to lay my head,

when things seem dark and dreary;

A father carries me up to bed,

when I’ve grown very weary.

 

A father reads me a bedtime story,

and hugs me when I’m scared;

a father is one who is by my side,

and who always seems to care.

 

He is there to close my window,

and to sing an old Irish tune;

he is there to let me know,

that I am his stars and moon.

 

 

A father lives, a father gives,

me all the love he possibly can;

he is silly, he is my joy

he is my favorite man.

 

A father is there to life me up

each time I inevitably fall;

A father rushes into the room,

each time his name I call.

 

A father is the one I love,

a father is my best friend;

he will always be in my heart,

on that he can depend.

 

So thank you sweet darling Dad,

for all you’ve done for me;

my love for you is greater than,

all the stars in the sky you see.

 

Poetologie ❤

 

 

Don’t Lose Touch with Your Good Friends

 

This weekend I heard the most awful news. A good friend of mine, who I lost touch with, is very ill with brain cancer. She has a wonderful husband and three young kids. My heart goes out to all of them now.

I haven’t spoken to her in years, I don’t have her new contact information, and I am heartbroken.

I am also wracked with guilt. I have not been a good friend. I let our relationship drift away, just like the evening tide.

It is so easy to stay in touch nowadays, especially with Facebook and text messaging. But since I made the big move from New York City to Virginia, I have been overwhelmed and chronically ill. I let my busy, messy life drown out my most important friendships. Friends that I have know since I was 17.

I am now 47 and full of regret. I am writing this story so that you don’t have to be.

I met my friend when I was 17. She went to high school with my best friend in college. She came up to visit us at SUNY Plattsburgh many times. She was always so much fun, I always looked forward to her visits. We would drink and dance at the bars, we would sing the words to Paradise City and Shower the People.

I have tears in my eyes as I recall these memories, if I could only show her the way that I feel right now.

She helped me explore my wild side, she helped me laugh when times were rough, she helped me deal with my anxiety, she always knew which diner I could go to for eggs at 3:00 in the morning.

After college she showed me the beauty of New York City. Though I grew up there, she made me appreciate it so much more. She absolutely loves the Upper West Side, and let me stay with her while I looked for a job. She always knew the best restaurants, museums and bars to go to. She took me to the opera at Lincoln Center, she went to concerts with me at Madison Square Garden, she gave me culture, she showed me how to enjoy life.

She is adventurous and loves to travel. She taught me to Rollerblade by renting me blades, and throwing me into the fire of the great Central Park Loop. She smiled and said “you can do it,” as I desperately tried not to fall, zooming down a big hill trying to avoid moms and their baby carriages. Unbelievably, I did not fall, but if I did she would be there to pick me up, just like she always did.

She is a true friend, one you rarely find. She taught me how to live, love and survive in the big city. She helped me heal after a broken relationship, and helped me celebrate at my happy wedding brunch. She sent me awesome gifts after the birth of my two children.

I remember her most hanging with me at the Bear Bar in the city, drinking bear juice, and dancing on the bar to George Michael’s Freedom. We sang “I won’t let you down” at the top of our lungs. Little did I know that I would eventually let her down.

I was there for many of her birthdays, I was there at her beautiful wedding at West Point.

I only wish I was there for her now.

I wish I had kept in touch, I wish I had sent her many cards, I wish I could talk to her now to tell her how much I love her, and how much she means to me.

But I may never get that chance, and I will regret it for the rest of my life. Please learn from my mistakes. Please let those you love- especially old friends, know how much they mean to you right now. Don’t put it off.

There was this big white dog that lived in our building on East 74th Street in Manhattan, who I called the Abominable Snow Dog. At first I feared him, but then I loved him, especially when I had a few beers in me. Do not fear what you do not know, do not be afraid to share your joy and love with others.

That’s what my good friend taught me. I am so lucky to have spent so much time with her when I was younger. I am so blessed to know her and her bountiful spirit.

Friends are so special. And whether you have one good friend or many, never take them for granted. Always put effort into these friendships, always keep in touch.

Be there for the many ups and downs of life, never let a giant wave of laziness, bitterness or distance wash away a great friendship.

My friend has the voice of an Angel, and when she sings Ave Maria she could make the most hardened soul cry.

“My lost soul turns to you, and full of repentment, humbles at your feet.”

I am so sorry that my friend is so ill. I would give anything to be able to help her. I will try to let her know. I just found out her new address and sent her flowers, I hope that she gets them. I hope they make her smile.

She is a bright light in a storm, the laughter in a dull sea, and an amazing youthful memory.

James Taylor wrote that love is sunshine. I am so grateful for all of the sunshine my friend brought to my life.

And as I sit here praying like I’ve never prayed before for my friend and her family, I will hope that she knows how much she means to all of her friends, old and new. Life in the big city would not have been the same without her. My life would not have been the same without her.

I hope that she is surrounded by the same sunshine and love that she gave to everyone she knew.

I hope she knows that her light will never diminish, and the memories will never fade away.

Do I love my friend? Would I go back and do things differently if I could?

Absofreakinlutely..

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

 

 

 

An Open Thank You Letter To Mick Jagger

Mr. Jagger,

I’ve just read the news of Gregg Allman’s death. He was 69 years old. I’m pretty sure you knew him, especially through your association with Chuck Leavell, so I’d like to say that I’m sorry for your loss.

His passing made me immediately think of you. Though you are my favorite musician/performer of all time, I have never written you a fan letter to let you know how much you and your music has meant to me.

I truly believe that if someone has affected your life in a positive way or has meant something to you, that you should always let them know. Life is too short to hold in our feelings or praise. Hearing of the passing of your good friend David Bowie, of Glenn Frey and of Chris Cornell has made this task more urgent. I wouldn’t want to ever regret not telling you how I feel, I would never want you to wonder if you ever truly made a difference in a fan’s life.

I’m here to tell you that you have.

I have no connection to you other than through your music. I am not your greatest fan. I have never met you. I have only seen The Rolling Stones tour twice, due to budget constraints and then illness. But for 47 years your music has been a constant in my life. It has been a warm blanket when my life was painted black. It has seen me through tough high school years, wild times at college, divorce, marriage, miscarriages, birth and chronic illness. It is the one thing I have always been able to count on, it is the soundtrack of my life.

Your soulful voice and lyrics, whether from The Stones or your solo work, is as real as it gets. It’s also as good as it gets. Life is not a top 40 dance-able track. It takes us to many dark places, and through many difficult winding paths. From Staten Island, New York to sweet Virginia, you have laid the foundation and follow me wherever I go.

I am lucky to not be waiting on a friend anymore, for I have found a great partner in my husband. His thick wispy longish brown hair, slender figure, and beautiful blue eyes are reminiscent of you, my first man crush.

I can always hear your voice echo in the distance, from the realization that wild horses couldn’t drag me away from my one true love, to the joy of my children’s birth, to sitting and watching life’s tragedies as tears go by. Your music has played through it all.

Whenever I succeeded, or whenever I fell – you were always there. From eight-tracks, to albums, to CD’s, to Pandora, you help comfort and lift me up like no other performer. When I walk in Central Park, to when I seem like I’m 2000 Light Years from Home due to my persistent anxiety, you remain my companion. You help me drift away and get lost in a sea of melodies that soothe my often aching body and soul.

Though I know that you will probably never see this letter, it makes me feel good to write it. I think that we should all do good things and thank many people with no expectations. Some girls really know you, some girls really love you, this girl really appreciates you and the way your music makes me feel. Joyful, unburdened, free, passionate and alive. I will always be a wild teenager when I hear Start Me Up, tell no lies when I walk through a field of Dandelions, and when time is not on my side, I will sit and watch my children doing all the things I used to do with a smile.

Seeing you and The Stones was and always will be one of my favorite memories. I will never forget the anticipation I felt as we drove from Plattsburgh, NY to Shea Stadium back in 89′. I will never forget the butterflies I felt as you approached the stage. I will never forget the adrenaline I felt as your face was projected on the big stadium screens. I will never forget the happiness I felt hearing you sing live.

You will never be just a memory to me. You will always be a talented man who enhanced my life, and made me realize my love of music. Your voice and songs will always be a part of me, and I hope a part of my children.

I want you to know how much you have meant to me, how much you still mean to me. You have helped me get through many tough times, you helped me dance in the street.

I hope that you live many more happy years just like your father Joe. I hope that you are surrounded by the love of your beautiful children, and that you never run out of time to keep showing them how much you care.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have given to me and to the world.

Thank you for helping me realize that though God may not have given me everything I want, he gave me everything I need.

Sincerely,

Kathy, a girl with a mind and a blog of her own