Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Good bye, my friend

Good morning to all. The day came and Big M lost his battle. Although cancer did not take him, pneumonia did.....but it does not matter....he is gone....but not really gone.

As Catholics, we believe that he is with God in heaven and able to interact and see us as we struggle to make a life without him. There have been multiple online tributes to him as we work on creating a memorial worthy of a man who lived an honorable and giving life.

For example, rather than having flowers at church, we plan on having trees, bushes, ornamental grasses, and shrubs.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to his alma mater where he was inducted into their Hall of Fame twice....that's right....most of us are not worthy of one induction let alone two :-)

As he passed away and took his final breaths, there were 40 members of his family squeezed into the room as we held hands, prayed, and walked with him to heaven. St Peter opened the door to him and closed it to us. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful death.

Face it, we are all headed that way, and to pass away with such love and support is quite a testimony to his life on earth. According to the nurses, most people pass away with one or two people in the room. Often they die alone. This was not the case as he was not alone in the last week of his life as family and friends held vigils at his bedside.

With that said, I am sad and will never forget how much he impacted my life as a teenager, young adult...and yes....into my middle age.....he was a dominant figure who will not be replaced. However, given our faith, we will be reunited in heaven for 'no shower' happy hours, pizza and beer, and sitting on the heavenly porch just chatting about nothing...something....anything....

I miss you, Big M.....

'Til we meet again......


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Positive thoughts

Greetings. Hope all is well. We are thinking positive thoughts for Big M as he goes through a rough patch. He is one tough guy.

How is the big lefty? Well, he seems to be standing straighter, have fewer physical complaints, and more positive. This is all good as his friend, Righty has already left for Seattle.

From feedback, it seems that the Seattle trainers are top notch and will make an impact on 'velo' (this is our baseball lingo for 'velocity').  Righty reports that his accommodations are less than stellar. In fact, it is a haven for transients and crack addicts. I am thinking that this will not work and we will have to find a grade higher for the big kid to stay in for the month. Since Righty cannot rent a car, he has been walking a mile or so to the training facility each day.

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I'll tell you....these guys want something incredibly bad. Think about it....their lives are on hold as they chase their dreams.

And why not?

This is the time when they should be doing it. They should leave nothing on the field and if they are done, they will have tried everything to make it.

My take on it is that they can make it....will make it.....and if not.....

They will have developed tools that will equip them to be successful for the rest of their lives. After all, "it's the climb...." according to Miley Cyrus.

On that note, I have to get ready for a tennis match. I have not played nor been competitive for over a month. I have to go and fake it.

Fake what?

Fake confidence......fake ability.....fake athleticism.....fake I really care about winning or losing.....I am filling in for a friend and I doubt that she asked me to play so that I will lose. Therefore, I am headed out to the courts with determination that I will (can...think...believe) that I can win.

There you have it...gotta stretch.....a little yoga...guided imagery...deep breathing.....Advil......grab my water bottle and sun screen.....



Monday, July 20, 2015

Keep fighting!

Good morning! I hope that all is well in your toasty worlds. It is hot!

Today is not a post about baseball....it is a post to honor one of my besties and his battle to overcome the odds.

That's right....my bestie.....my brother in law...big brother....best friend...a guy that I have known since I was 14 years old.....an athlete.....a sportsman....a husband....a father....a friend....a creative genius....a guy who has been there through thick and thin....knowing that Tink and I were suffering from the loss of Diva dog drove around town on Father's Day to buy us flowers....a generous man who would give you his last dollar then borrow more and give that to you....a man whom I have loved and admired since I was a sophomore in high school....a man who has given his all for the betterment of others...a grandfather whose eyes light up when he sees his little Cupcake....he is all of this and a box of homemade cookies..... 

Big M is in the ICU and struggling to overcome something that is mightier than all of us. Even with positive thinking....drugs and chemicals....healthy life style choices....best cancer doctors in the country....he has not been able to overcome this storm unscathed.

We sought miracles and realized a miracle had been granted as he has been with us despite the odds and that he should have been gone years ago. Each day that he was with us at the beach, family events, and games was a miracle. Sadly, I am thinking that the miracles are just about over and we have to come to the realization that the fight is just about over.

Big M came into our lives when he started to date Big Sis in high school. He is a three letter athlete in football, baseball, and basketball. In high school, he was the guy....you know the guy.....tall and handsome....popular....and dating Big Sis. Although I was the younger, very geeky sister, he always stopped in the hallways to say hello....which made my equally geeky friends go crazy.....

During his senior year, the football team went undefeated.....he was all state....and he caught the winning touch down pass for the city championship. This was huge and to this day, I remember the catch in the end zone. It was a sight that I will never forget.

At this time, he decided to play football at a local college to stay in the area despite being recruited around the country. When he left for football camp, I remember seeing Big Sis sitting in the living room crying because she would miss him. Mind you, he was playing football and in camp six miles away from the house and not six hours. Nonetheless, we all missed seeing him.

After graduation, he started his own landscaping company and made a name for himself as a creative designer. He landscaped my homes and I truly believe that we sold the first house so quickly because of the beauty of his designs.

In the current house, he landscaped the back and sides of the home which has not only added value but beauty to the home. I look out back and see the plants, trees, and flowers and think of him.

Over the years, he and Big Sis had three children and one granddaughter. The boys played baseball together and we would sit on the grass watching the games. He would spit out the shells of his sunflower seeds and analyze the 7th and 8th grade game. I called him "Wheels" after the announcer of the Phillies games. He would say...."watch this curveball...bang...you're out...." It was a great time as I would savor those moments when family and friends would hang out and laugh...a lot....

He loves Big Sis....boy does he. Before they were engaged, they had broken up. Scooby and I were ticked beyond belief. We wanted to get rid of Big Sis and keep Big M. Anyway, he contacted us one day and said to us "let's go out to buy an engagement ring." Scoob and I were stunned....Uh, Big M, you know Big Sis hates you.....and you are not dating.....is this really a good idea?

You bet it was. He convinced us that he was going to marry Big Sis even though she would not talk to him. Perhaps he was delusional. Perhaps he was a positive thinker.....we thought that he was nuts.

And so....we went with him to the mall.....to Bailey Banks and Biddle (that was the store to go if you had money to burn or was so in love that money did not matter)....looked around and he purchased a beautiful pear shaped ring. Scoob and I called it "the pear" to each other as we thought that he was crazy. He put the ring away for a few years and finally brought it out one summer evening.....

One day, he called the entire family.....all of us sibs as well as his own and told us to go to a sand dune on a specific New Jersey beach....we were to hide until the right moment.....

Big M and Big Sis were walking on the beach when an airplane with a sign flew by....the sign asked Big Sis to marry him.....wow......naturally, she said yes.....we ran out....partied until I passed out from exhaustion in the early morning hours. It was a day and night to remember.....

On her 40th birthday, Big M has a huge blow out party.....every hour, he stopped the party....gave a glowing testimonial to the love of his life....and continued the party until he did the unthinkable....he found a car like her first one (a Volkswagen beetle), hid it behind a curtain and surprised her toward the end of the party. Big Sis was in tears and could not believe her gift. Big M was a guy who remembered details and knew that she had loved her first car.....

Even today, he thinks about others...not himself.....He is that kind of guy....you know....one of a kind with a heart and soul bigger than all of the outdoors. A sensitive man who is always available to help. During the spring, he had worked on the high school's gymnasium decorating it for the annual fund raiser and junior prom. he was there night and day. That weekend, the activity had taken a toll and he started a decline in health.

I am not saying that the prom caused his health issues, however, he wanted to do everything in his power to help others. In other words, he lived....boy did he live.....the way he wanted to....helping others.....hanging out with family and friends.....and living life on his terms.

This is the man that I admire. This is the brother and friend that I will miss...with every fiber in my body, I continue to pray for a miracle that we can keep him longer. But this is selfish, right?

Or is it? I don't know the answer but I will continue to pray and hope, because this is what life is about....It's praying for the right people to enter your life and hoping that they will stay.....forever.....

It's the people whom you allow in who make such an impact, when you take down the barriers. It is also a lesson in love. If you allow yourself to love...really love...you leave yourself vulnerable for hurt that manifests itself in ways that you believe that you cannot take. But to have such great pain, you let this love in....when it is there, you savor it.....enjoy it....remember it........then it is gone. The hurt is tremendous, but while you had that love, it was beautiful, lively, vivid, and wonderful.

I guess what I am saying is that the hurt is tremendous because the love is so great.

My brother....keep fighting.......


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Fan with Money

Another quickie...got to run to hospital and see Big M. He continues to battle cancer and will not stop. Love this guy. He is one of my heroes.

The big lefty is preparing to leave for Seattle on August 1. His hips, sternum, chest, back, neck, and shoulder are responding to therapy and he is stronger than ever. When he goes, he will be in a group of four. one of the members of his group is a major league pitcher. He could not be happier since Mr. MLB will have lots of advice and stories for him to devour.

last night he called from his favorite cheap Mexican restaurant in Delaware. As he stood in line for his high calorie feast, a man asked him about his baseball hat. It seems that the big kid has abandoned his college gear and is now wearing a SC hat. This is the team that he dominated yet lost to since there was no run support. He decided that since he liked the team and state that he would now wear their baseball hats.

Back to the story...the man standing behind him in line asked him about the hat and he responded that he was a fan and got to play in the ball park. With that, the man wanted more information as he disclosed that he pitched against the team.

The man was a fan of the SC team and asked what team he pitched for...when he responded with the team from the mountains, the man was excited. It seems that he watched that game, remembered him on the mound, and was impressed with his play. He stated that he thought that his beloved SC team was a goner.

With that, he bought the big kid dinner.....

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The end of the story is....

The big lefty was thrilled to be recognized in such a positive manner and even more thrilled that he did not have to buy dinner....


Friday, July 10, 2015

More newsy news

Good morning! I am sorry that I have not posted but nothing has been going on....except....

The kid continues to work out in Jersey with the pros. This past month, he has worked next to professional hockey players who also have hip issues and a professional football player whom he claims is massive and a rock. he then stated that he would be knocked into Canada if he was ever hit by this guy. In other words, baseball was an excellent choice for him.

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The trainers have targeted August 1st for his trip to Seattle. Therefore, all eyes are on the next phase of his journey.

Yesterday, he spoke with some of the guys who were playing in independent baseball leagues. These leagues are not associated with any professional team but are monitored closely by them. Further, they suggested that he plays in the fall and winter in another country.  Can anyone say "ca-ching? $$$?"

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Here is the best part of this journey.....he is to avoid playing in certain countries because the locals kidnap the baseball players and hold them for ransom. It is nothing that is publicized in this country but done on a regular basis. I chose to let that one run through my ears, into the brain, and down my spinal cord for a shiver. I needed a shot of either vodka or Valium after that comment....Can anyone say: "leave the coins under the cushions until he gets home?" I would have to hire Liam Neesan for this one......oye!

This is quite an adventure for him and us as a family. I am not sure what will happen next but I promise not to let a long time go again until I post updates.

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