Not Alone

image

“All my friends are dead!” Two days ago a dear family friend stood at the coffin of my grandmother and those heartbreakingly honest words escaped her lips. My spirit ached for her as I watched tears fall down those beautiful cheeks. She is in her nineties and is one of the sweetest, most beloved individuals you would ever meet. Yet aside from her devoted son, who stood at her side, she feels alone.

Due to her limited mobility and the passage of time she feels that life has continued at its customary pace but cast her aside. She can no longer be a part of the activities that used to give her joy and community. Her community is also dwindling because over the decades she has watched as, one by one, her friends left this earth.

“It’s so special that you could be here today,” I said.

“I’m not special,” she replied. I hugged her as tightly as I could to show her differently. I made sure I hugged her every chance I had for the next two days.

I was also reminded that I needed to go seek her out and give her more hugs more often.

Today I encourage you to make sure that no one you love feels left behind. Go give them hugs, a LOT of hugs, every chance you get. Don’t let them be alone. They are special. Make sure you BOTH remember that.

Like this post? Don’t forget to “Follow” Seriously Not Boring or subscribe to email updates. You can check out our Seriously Not Boring Facebook page and give us a “Like” there too, or follow @SrslyNotBoring on Twitter. Thanks for stopping by! 

Life Continues

Yesterday I lost an older, beloved family member who had been ill for some time. Even though I said my goodbyes to her a long time ago I still found the reality of the loss quite difficult. This morning it finally hit me, and I found myself immobilized in the car at my children’s school, finally letting the tears flow.

Then I came home and viewed this with fresh eyes and my spirit was renewed.

image

There is something inspiring about seeing new life emerge out of the earth every spring. It is also deeply satisfying when it is life that you placed into the soil with your own hands. The amazing part is that, after my initial efforts, this growth continues on year after year without needing my help. Life wins.

image

This reflection left me encouraged that all our efforts for good will continue to bloom and grow and add beauty to this world, even after we are gone.

image

Not only that, but it can spread. All the plants and flowers in these pictures are from the garden of a friend (and there are many more not pictured). Many years ago she graciously shared with me from the abundance of growth in her life, and every spring I smile and think of her.

Now my own garden overflows and these plants are ready to be divided and shared. I can continue to pass on her gift to others.

So today as I gaze upon this growth I will remember… though the body of my loved one has stilled, what they contributed to this world will remain. The lessons she taught me and the kindness she showed to others will continue to beat fruit.

Beauty, kindness and memories continue on. Life wins.

Like this post? Don’t forget to “Follow” Seriously Not Boring or subscribe to email updates. You can check out our Seriously Not Boring Facebook page and give us a “Like” there too, or follow @SrslyNotBoring on Twitter. Thanks for stopping by! 

Letters to Mr. Goss

goss (2)

(How hundreds of students reached out in gratitude to a beloved former teacher in the days before his death.)   Every year around Valentine’s Day, and in the spirit of Random Acts of Kindness,  I try to find a way to reach out and do something kind and unexpected for someone. Quite often it is to say “thank you” to someone from my past; someone who had a positive influence on my life and might not even know it. Several years ago I had been thinking a lot about my high school English teacher, Raymond Goss. I have always enjoyed writing, but rediscovered a passion for it when my youngest son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum disorder. I started blogging to find an outlet for my emotions, and somehow that ended up helping other people who read my words. I recalled being in Mr. Goss’s class and how he really enjoyed & encouraged my writing. One time he actually got quite giddy about a unique paper I wrote, jumping up and down in his chair, exclaiming, “YES!!! YES! THIS is what I wanted!!!” I wondered what he would think if he read any of my new work. I wanted to tell him that he made a difference in my life and that I thought of him every time I wrote.

During that time old high school friends had begun to reconnect on Facebook, and Mr. Goss often came up in conversation as we reminisced. He was one of those amazing teachers that got students excited about learning and about life. They appreciated his energy and passion, his unique view of the world, and the fact that he could teach with equal levels of earnestness the symbolism of Dr. Seuss or Dante’s Inferno. Despite his occasionally crusty exterior he was described as, “My favorite teacher”, “The best thing to happen to English”, “My inspiration for becoming a writer/teacher”, and “The only person I felt I could talk to”. One student wrote, “He was just one of the coolest teachers I think I’ve ever known. Even when it wasn’t about English or Literature, he was teaching about so many things.” Another said, “We LOVED Mr. Goss!! Who else could discuss how important it is to have your glass of milk so cold it almost hurts? Or read Dr. Seuss’ ‘Are You My Mother?’ to you and put it on your senior English exam?”

I had heard whispers that Mr. Goss was battling an aggressive form of cancer, but I was not sure if that sad news was supposed to be public knowledge. It increased the urgency of my desire to contact him, but I did not wish to invade his privacy. I waited many months for the opportunity to reach out to him, all the while a feeling of desperation growing inside me. I wondered if he knew how many lives he had touched, or how many students viewed him as a crucial positive influence on their education. I was sure that those students who sang his praises on the internet would be devastated to learn that they could no longer tell the man himself. I decided that it would be an utter tragedy for Mr. Goss to die without the possibility of knowing how many students spoke so highly of him; without knowing that he had made such a difference.

Continue reading