When I count my blessings, you are high on the list. When we moved into our house 10 ½ years ago, we were very excited. We loved our new house, the big yard, and the nice neighborhood. What we didn’t know yet, was that having you as our neighbor was the most valuable part of our new property.
It has felt like we had another set of parents next door. I called you for cooking advice and when I needed ingredients (even if I didn’t yet know the difference between salted and unsalted butter). You loaned me your favorite cooking appliances and helped me learn how to use them. Every time I tried to give them back to you, you told me to hold on to them.
You were there for me for some of my hardest days as a parent and have given me six years worth of great parenting wisdom and advice. When I was stressed about how I would get home in time to get Graham off the kindergarten bus, you agreed to be a backup for me.
I am so thankful for all that you have done for me, but it is what you have done for my children that I will be forever grateful for. From the moment I brought them home from the hospital, I have watched you love and spoil my children. Watching them love you right back has been one of the greatest joys of my parenting journey.
Every Christmas, birthday, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, any random holiday or special occasion, and every day in between, you have spoiled my kids rotten. Calling them your pseudo grandchildren, you showered them with gifts, cookies, and lots of love and support. I know they thought of you as a pseudo Grandma, too.
When you got sick, I saw their deep concern for you and sadness that you were no longer next door. It was clear how much they loved you and how much they missed you. Watching them color you pictures, make you videos to cheer you up, and pray for you, gave me so much pride.
Telling them that you weren’t going to get better and watching them say their final goodbyes to you were some of the absolute saddest of my parenting moments. I will never forget the image of a very sad Graham in my rear-view mirror, crying as we drove to visit you for the final time at Hospice, asking me if the doctors had tried everything to make you better. Every time I think about the way he sadly waved goodbye to you at the end of your bed as he walked out of the room, quietly saying, “Bye, Mrs. R, I’ll see you in heaven,” will make me cry for a very long time.
I will think of you every time I read my kids one of the many books you bought them. I will think of you when we watch the fireworks on the 4th of July or when a recipe calls for unsalted butter. I will think of you when we plan our first family Disney trip, something I had hoped we could do together. I will think of you when I try to make your famous meatballs and when I use any of the Wolfgang Puck appliances you “loaned” me. You got me that stained-glass butterfly that is hanging on my window so that I would look at it and think of my brother. Now I will look at it and think of you, too. Please give him a hug for me.
I will never let my kids forget how much you loved them. I hope that you know how much we all loved you, too.
As Graham says, I’m excited to go to Heaven so I can see you again.
Rest in peace, sweet (and feisty) Rose.
Rest in peace, sweet (and feisty) Rose.
Bette MidlerSome say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reedSome say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleedSome say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching needI say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seedIts the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to danceIts the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chanceIts the one who won't be taking, who cannot seem to giveAnd the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to liveWhen the night has been too lonely and the road has been too longAnd you think that love is only for the lucky and the strongJust remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snowsLies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose