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Monday, February 06, 2017

HOW LUCKY I AM


I keep thinking how in life we can attend some awful moments and ask ourselves why it is happening to us. These moments can be anything from a bad report card to someone dying.

When I look back to my youth, the trouble started immediately in the summer after my kindergarten year. That summer there was an epidemic of mumps, and lucky me I was caught in it. It was a most severe case as I remember hallucinating in the midst of pain and swollen cheeks! When it was over, my hearing was gone.

Then in college there was a horrific auto accident that I was part of. I say part of because I was a passenger, my head went through the windshield with such force I don’t recall it! When it was over I was laying in the front seat with the engine next to me wondering if I was OK. I thought I was until I decided to wipe the sweat off my brow, and discovered it was blood and that my foot hurt. Looking down I noticed that the foot was turned inward with a bone protruding through my sock, now a bloody mess!

As life went on, in my 50’s I found out I needed a bypass (triple) because I was on the verge of dropping dead at any moment. Most of the arteries to and from the heart were closed and what were open were only 8% opened.

And finally, there was the carotid artery adventure, a devil may care romp through the edge of demise, in the end, my surgeon telling me it was clogged 99%! Oh, my gosh! I was a walking time bomb!

This got me thinking: was I lucky or unlucky? How many people lost their hearing from mumps? How many died from an auto accident, or heart attacks? I seemed to visit the edge an awful lot, yet somehow managed to find my way away from the abyss of finality. Was all this just plain luck?

Then I started to think of my good luck and who may be behind it. I realized I was born with a large imagination, and good memory and a God-given talent to create graphically. I can paint, wood carve and draw enough to be happy with the results.

Talent got me an education. I got me an opportunity to go with full scholarships, three schools invited me that way. Instead I chose to go to a 4-year college and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, preferring to study also English Literature, mathematics and science as well as art history.

I also had the luck to have a lovely Aunt and Uncle who I owe so much to. When I started college, I commuted via the Long Island Railroad and an extended thumb to get from the train station every day. By the end of my college days I was living rent free in my aunt’s house, meals and utilities included!

There was my brother-in-law John, the older brother I never had. It was his coming to the college on Friday nights to bring me home because I didn’t have a car. To his last moments on Earth I was with him and visit his grave.

Along the way I met a great guy who became not only my best friend, but like a brother to me. He and I are in touch all the time. We even have operations on the same day! Phil and I have been there for each other throughout it all.

Proud f my grandmother!
I was not a big fan of marriage, couldn’t imagine myself fighting with someone for a period of time, maybe a divorce. Instead I found true love and peaceful days, all the days of my life, no matter how bad things got. My wife and I have been companions for the past 46 years we truly love each other and we are one.

Having my in-laws, particularly my Mother and Father-in-law, people who were so easy to love and get along with was a blessing as were my wife’s siblings. I often think that they thought I was unfriendly or stand-offish when all I was is in awe of them as a family.

The center of my universe!

Here, life went from me to we, and the trials, and tribulations that can batter a marriage. Our first child was born with genetic defects that cause her to live in a home for people with disabilities, a second child who has blessed us with his ability to write, be a steady force in our lives, and has made us proud both in demeanor and actions.
One of those actions was a beautiful daughter-in-law who amazes me, makes me proud and is my son’s best friend. Then they put their talents together to create the love of my life, my little and sweet granddaughter, Darby Shea!

Joseph
We have been tested more than once in our married life. My third, my son Joseph passed from the genetic inheritance, the same one as his sister. His death at almost 2-years of age made us closer than we ever were.

Then we got lucky once more. Another son, one who grew up unpredictable and leaves me wondering how far he will go. Great minds don’t come overnight, they are made from thought, trials and even tribulations. The ones that contribute to the world are the ones that make impact, that impact is coming, and he will do it in grand style! Michael was a God-send to us. After
Joseph died, I was truly happy when he was born. I used to let him lie on my chest and fall asleep when he was an infant, and often as he grew he would come to me, sit on my lap and ask me questions about things he didn’t understand. That was my favorite part of his life.

And now I go to California, and my favorite place in the whole world, Burbank to see my guys, the kid from the Big Bang Theory, my beautiful daughter-in-law and of course, Darby.

So, if I look at the balance sheet, I am a very lucky man, thank you, God!

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