Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A little white lie and a diamond ring later I am engaged!

Daniel proposed Saturday, October 11th, at the city park where we had our first date! I had been expecting us to go to the jeweller the following Monday because when i called to talk to her earlier in the week she had told me the ring wouldn't be ready yet. But needless to say Daniel had called her before me and told her that whatever she does she MUST lie so i wouldn't know he was getting the ring that week! We had wanted some pictures taken of us at the park so he asked his sister to take some of us when i got off work Saturday. He really stressed Friday night that I dress up for the pictures and that night he also had sweaty palms for the first time since we started dating, I later found out that was because he already had the ring in his truck. We got to the park and took some pictures then his sister had us go down by the river. After a few pictures she had us back up some and I looked up at Daniel and he had this goofy grin on his face and I said what? He pointed to the ground and said what's that? I looked down and the words will you marry me? were spelled out in branches on the ground! I screamed and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! And of course I said YES!!! And since his sister was there we have pictures of the whole thing!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

He's the lucky one....

Everyone knows that death doesn’t ask our permission before it abruptly interrupts our lives, and no matter how much we prepare ourselves for such a time we always feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us when someone close dies. This is exactly what happened to me this week. For 14 months I nannied 3 of the most precious little boys I have ever met while living in Nashville. The youngest was full of energy and emotions, the middle was the strong, silent type, and the oldest was the comedian, the entertainer, the epitome of what it means to live life to the fullest.

All of these children are beautiful, amazing kids who have such a special place in my heart, but the one I want to tell you about today is Gram. Not only was he the comedian and entertainer, he knew no stranger, wherever his feet landed was his stage. Many people who saw him probably would have said that there was something wrong with him, he wasn’t normal, but Gram was more normal and determined and not afraid to be himself than anyone else I have ever met. The fact that he had down syndrome was only a minor detail of his life. It did not define him, or handicap him, it only handicapped those that thought he was any less than what God had created him to be.

On my lunch break Tuesday I received the shocking email that Gram had passed away. Gram is 12 years old, and for the past 8 years he has been receiving treatment for Leukemia. He had relapsed 4 times and the last time was this July. After having been through years of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant there was nothing else that could be done. 3 weeks ago he took a turn for the worst and this Saturday his blood stopped clotting and his liver began shutting down and the doctors told his family there was nothing else they could do. Sunday they were planning on letting him go home Monday to spend his last little while at home, but that afternoon Gram walked through heavens gates.

Today I attended his memorial service. I don’t know about you but there is nothing more morbid to me than having to celebrate the life that was lost, the life of a child. As I walked into the visitation room one wall was lined with the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. A picture of Gram with his dog, one of him playing the banjo, another of him and his little brothers, one where he was all decked out in his top hat and magic wand that surely cast a smile on every face that passed by, and the last picture in the line was of one of Gram’s signature poses, a bow. His final bow. Jokes were told, stories were shared, but nothing beats the memories I have etched in my brain of the times I spent with this precious soul. I have seen him sing and dance many, many times and after each performance he closed with a bow, but none of them compare to the one that was captured in that picture. It saddens me to think that I will never see him bow on this earth again, but I have hope that the next time I see him sing he will be backed up by heavenly angels and it will be his greatest performance yet.

Everytime I hear of someones death and the stories that people begin to share of their life I am reminded of this passage I read months ago...

The Dash
copyright 1996 Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth...and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own;the cars....the house...the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard...are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we've never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile...remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So, when your eulogy is being read with your life's actions to rehash...would you be proud of the things they say about how you spend your dash?

Please keep Gram's family that he left behind in your prayers.