Thursday, September 12, 2019

Living in Dad's Light

Living in Dad’s Light

The tiny pink roses
\\\ that lay on the casket/// are dried now.

Raising this question for me: how do we keep Dad’s spirit
alive now that it’s been four weeks since he passed?  I only 
know this much: I see him in every Rose of Sharon.

I see him in the deer that creep closer to the house.
I see him in bright orange Monarch butterflies that light on the bee balm.
I see him in hummingbirds that come especially close.
I see him in blazing sunsets
and lacy cloud patterns

illuminating the sky. I watch him in hawks that dance on the wind gusts.
I feel him in my heart every time I go quiet and breathe slowly.

This morning, he was in the brightly colored umbrella

That protected me from a heavy downpour. Mysteriously, a man at the restaurant where we
had Dad's funeral luncheon just handed me that umbrella 
and told me I could keep it.

I saw Dad quite literally (in army uniform)
an hour later this morning when I went to the mailbox and opened
a package from that same restaurant where we left one of Dad's photos.

Dad was an expert in
energy and electricity
he didn’t
believe in “God.”
He was a materialist. 

But now that he knows better I’m so glad to let him show me the myriad miracles that happen all around us each day.
Baby Dani and Lily carry Dad forward.
Every time we remember something Dad did or said. Every time we look at him in photos. Or read something that he wrote.

Every morning
I use his frying pan
and the eggs have never tasted so good.
I have his turquoise
dish towel.
And his sky blue
And the lime green

cardboard box
that he fashioned out
of Amazon boxes and glue.

Let us hold him close in our hearts and let him start to show you all the magic that he carries
through the Universe.
He is PURE LIGHT now, DAD is the energy that FUELS THE VERY ESSENCE
Of you and Me.
I pray that we all might stay focused on that everlasting mystery
that is his [[[[[Spirit.]]]]]]]]

September 12, 2019

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Eulogy for a Fabulous Grandfather

By Jocelyn Guggenheim

"Eulogy for Pa Rick"

I became involved in my grandfather’s medical care about a year ago. Quickly I realized he had no business being alive. His heart and brain had worked through injuries that would have felled most years ago. But not Pa Rick. His heart and brain were stronger than most. 

He was pretty fascinated by the life he had been given. He often told the story of when he was a teenager, fighting in WWII and narrowly avoided death. He had gotten up to get water in the middle of the night and spotted next to him a grenade that had been faulty and failed to detonate. If it had gone off, he would tell us grandchildren, none of us would be here. 

Rick worked hard to create a life that was worth saving. He and Dee were the quintessential grandparents. They were as supportive, caring and present for us as our parents were.

The home they created was one we could stop in for a meal, a hug, a warm bed or just some company. They picked us up from school if we were injured or sick and they could get there faster than Mom and Dad. 

My grandfather could be impassioned about any subject he found interesting and was happy to start a debate at any time. Religion, politics, biology, you name it.

He could also be a calm and patient teacher. I will never forget when he and Dee

picked me up from the school bus just days after I got my driving permit. Pa said he thought I should drive the 10 minutes home over the mountain. And I was shocked. Dee wasn’t exactly risk inclined and I hadn’t ever driven a car before. And yet away we went, on the state highway with a 55 MPH speed limit over a mountain. I was touched by their confidence in me and their excitement about this new step in my life. Even more touching was the moment when Pa turned to me and very calmly said “some cars don’t accelerate when you go down hill and some need you to apply the break or they will speed up.” I looked down and realized I was going 75 MPH while my grandmother sat wide-eyed in the back seat. But his tone kept me calm and I was able to avoid slamming on the brakes. 

His love for his family was always swirling around his grandchildren.

And when my son was born 5 ½ years ago Pa delighted in Ronen’s love for baseball, even if my Red Sox loving husband turned him into a sox fan. Pa proudly displayed photos of Ronen in his Red Sox hat in various baseball stances on the front door of his apartment in Holyoke. I think he figured he would lure in new friends with the appearance of a cute kid in Red Sox gear before breaking the news that he was a die-hard Yankees fan.

Pa Rick loved being a grandfather and great grandfather and wanted so badly to meet his great grand daughters, Dani Guggenheim and Lily Katherine Scott, both born in August, the month he died. And although they won’t get to experience his playful “last touch” or “claw of pain” (it’s not violent-I promise) the lessons he taught us and stories about him will be passed on for generations to come.

Pa Rick -- Richard Louis Ricci -- died on August 15, 2019 at the age of 93. He will be sorely missed but he lives on in his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jocelyn Guggenheim, CPNP, is Clinical Director and Director of Pediatrics at the South Boston Community Health Center. She and husband Evan Guggenheim are proud parents to Ronen Dante and Dani Marcella Guggenheim.