“It’s never easy to explain a death.” he said to his son sitting sad upon his knee.  “So I’ll explain it to you as best I can…the way your Grandpa explained it to me.”


It is true Grandpa has died and our life will change…it can never go back to the way it was before…but it only means that physically we won’t see Grandpa anymore.”


“You might not understand this today but, in time, you'll know it to be true…Even though he’s no longer here with us…he’s still inside of you.”


You see any time we meet another person…any time our lives are intertwined…we take a little piece from that person with us while leaving a piece of ourself behind.


You don’t even noticing it happening…you don’t feel it when you're apart but all those little pieces you took from Grandpa have found their way into your heart.


Every time you saw Grandpa being kind…every time you saw him give…you were learning about love and compassion…you were learning how to live.


Grandpa loved to take you to his garden…where you planted flowers or vegetables in a row…which means Grandpa will now be a part of every plant you ever grow.


And what do you say, though I disagree, on the weekend when I make your pancakes…you laugh and say mine don’t taste as good as the pancakes Grandpa makes.


Grandpas in the garden, he’s in the pancakes and as crazy as it seems…he will find a way into your thoughts…a way to sneak into your dreams.


To say that Grandpa’s gone forever…well that would be unfair

because if you stop and look around…you’ll find him everywhere.


His son jumped down from his Dad’s knee…with a huge smile on his face then headed out of the room at a somewhat hurried pace.


“Where are you going?” his father asked…noticing his son’s sadness now behind him…

“If Grandpa is all over the place he said…I think I’ll go and find him”.




It’s never easy to explain a death…because death is always bleak…but it’s nice to know we can ease the pain…

with a game of hide and seek.






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They were good friends when they were young…they’d lie together under the stars…he’d search for constellations…she loved Jupiter and Mars.


The two of them were so young all they had to do it seemed…was to laugh and play and sit together under the stars…and dream.


And oh the dreams they dreamed…of things they’d do and the places they would go…never realizing at such an innocent age…there was much they did not know.


They didn’t know on those evenings looking up at the stars from her backyard that life would not always be that easy…or would hit her quite so hard.


As she grew up her life became one of sadness, of sorrow, of uncertainty and doubt.

He saw her sinking into a quicksand of depression…but he could not pull her out.


She left him a note the day she killed herself with instructions to read it…under either Jupiter or Mars…It read: I’m sorry to be leaving you but there’s just too much darkness between the stars.


He rereads her note often…on nights sitting under a starlit sky

and even after all these years…he still can’t help but wonder why…


Why he couldn’t help her find a way through her sadness…over the terror of her starkness…a way to help her see the stars…instead of all the darkness.


As he looks up at the stars today he tells her, “I’m still missing you…and I am sad for all the dreams we made that never will come true.”


“And I have to tell you something when we were young we couldn’t possibly have known…

It’s not as much fun dreaming…when you have to dream alone.”


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When you meet another person and your lives are intertwined

you don’t think much about the memories that person will leave behind…


You’re too busy enjoying this roller coaster of life you’re riding on

to think what your life would be like if this person was ever gone.


Big Nana is what we called her…it’s the only name we ever knew.

That’s what our grandchildren called her…so that’s what we called her too.


We used to see her often at family gatherings…birthday parties and soccer games.

We loved how when the children would see her they’d excitedly call her name.


Big Nana they would yell!

Big Nana they would shout!

And we would stand and wonder as all this love came pouring out.


Big Nana was like a flower…constantly in bloom

A smile from Big Nana could light up any room.


Big Nana loved to take care of others…Big Nana loved to cook

(And Big Nana was one of only a handful of people who ever read my book!)


But families are unpredictable…they have a way of changing course

and any future time we had with Big Nana was lost in a divorce.


And though it’s been years since I saw her last

since our lives were side by side

I was overwhelmed with sorrow when I heard Big Nana died.


But I feel blessed to ever have known her…

Blessed for the little while our two lives were aligned 

and blessed to have so many memories

Big Nana left behind.


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Cancer is an ugly disease…not only for the life it takes

But for all the sorrow and sadness…left floating in its wake….


Although I did not know her personally I’ve kept abreast of cases she has tried

which is why I was saddened yesterday when I heard that she had died.


But what finally caused my tears to flow…what opened my floodgate

was, amidst the many tributes to her, were the messages of hate.


The more I read the sadder I felt until soon I was feeling numb

as my heart filled up with sorrow at the country we’ve become.


Cancer comes in many forms causing families sadness, sorrow and strife

progressing slowly through the body until it finally takes a life.


Hate is a form of cancer…I wish people would understand

How it’s metastasizing quickly…as it spreads across the land.


Two forms of cancer make me sad today…

The first that took this woman I am thinking of…

and the second that is slowly killing

this country that I love.

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It’s funny how someone can light up your life as they brighten your morning too.

It’s even funnier when it’s someone you never met…someone you never knew.


I never new this little old man…never knew his name

but I’d pass him every morning as our routines were the same.


As I reached his streetlight on my walk in the ebbing of the night

I would see him at his window Illuminated by his kitchen light.


In time a kind of friendship formed between us in the dwindling of the nights.

A nod turned into a smile and then a wave when we saw each other in the lights.


This was the extent of our friendship…It’s how our pieces fit

until the day, under his streetlight, I noticed his kitchen was unlit.


It remained unlit…and it was a week later when I finally tried

to check and see how he was doing…only to find out he had died.


I think about him when I pass his house

that he was my friend I have no doubt

but I never knew how much of a friend

or how much I’d miss him

until his light went out.



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We lost a friend of ours today…and immediately…different people we became.

for none of us…no matter how we try…will ever be the same.


Our lives will never go back to the way they were

the way they used to be.

When I was young and we lost someone…

this is how my father explained it all to me:


He said every person is like a puzzle…a puzzle that’s incomplete

because we’re constantly adding pieces from everyone we meet.


We are happy when we find a piece that fits…

knowing…of all the pieces in our reservoir

that piece has found a place in the creation of who we are.


It saddens us when we realize

because of all the miles, together, we have crossed

that one piece to our puzzle is gone 

and how forever…it is lost. 


And there will forever be a mix of sadness and of happiness

that comes with reminiscing…

every time we gaze upon our puzzle

and see the piece that we are missing.


And we’ll remember the exact time

different people we became…

And how in the moment that piece went missing

we will never be the same.



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When her son died she was broken…like a wounded bird

unable to fly as her sorrow and her anger

wrestled with each other to be heard.


Some days her sorrow would win…and her crying would not stop

Other days it was her anger that climbed up to the top.


So many question left unanswered:

Why did this have to be?

Why take one so young and innocent?

Why him…instead of me.?


It was anger and sorrow and sorrow and anger…until she reached a point when…

she began to wonder if happiness would ever return to her again.


But her happiness was patient…it gave her all the time she needed to grieve

until slowly, quietly, gingerly…back into her life it did weave.


Then one day her smile resurfaced

It’s as if her heart that had stopped…resumed beating

and she began enjoying her happiness again

even if, at first, those moments were fleeting.


And though she will always be wounded…

she knows once again she will soar…

She knows once again she’ll spread her wings and fly….

just never as high as before.




On the night of their grandma’s funeral their Dad said,

“I think that you will find…one way to help us through her loss

is to think of the memories she left behind.


The children remembered the taste and aroma of her baking

her gentleness…how much she cared…

The adults smiled as they interrupted one another… 

with the memories they shared.


It was wonderful, in a way, to see Grandma through each other’s eyes…

but the memory their grandpa chose left the rest of them surprised.


“I’ll remember her music.” Grandpa said as he smiled wistfully.

But they all knew grandma never played an instrument,

could not dance 

and always sang off key.


“Not that kind of music.” Grandpa said anticipating their surprise

It was the music in her smile…the music in her eyes.


“There was music in everything she did.” He smiled

“Music in the way she walked.

there was music in the way she slept

and music in the way she talked”.


And as sad as they all were that night

when they closed their eyes and listened 

even before their grandpa was through

somewhere in their darkness…

they could heard her music too…


Which is why whenever there is a death in their family

they always try to find

the aromas, 

the tastes 

and the music

in the memories left behind.


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There are many tragedies in George Floyd’s death

They are interconnected…intertwined…

From the brutal way that he was murdered

to the daughter he left behind.


The daughter he would carry on his back

Where, perched on his shoulders way up high

She would stretch her arms out wide

and feel like an airplane in the sky.


The tragedy that makes us sad

that makes us frustrated…makes us mad

Is how 6 year old Gianna 

will now grow up without her dad.


Her family will, no doubt, be there to help her

and she’ll smile when she says his name

but growing up without him

her life will never be the same…


Because they never had the opportunity

to grow together or even say goodbye…

and he never had the chance 

to teach his daughter how to fly.


We need to change this now…today!

We must do more than try….

So Gianna’s children will have a father

who can teach them how to fly.